Tuesday, September 22, 2020


Ed Hamman Joke Book (c. 1950's)


Ed Hamman was one of the premier baseball clowns of all time. Before team mascots became popular, there were the baseball clowns like Ed Hamman, Max Patkin and Al Schacht. This joke book was sold by Hamman during the games at which he performed. Between comedy routines, Hamman could always be found roaming through the stands, joking with the fans and selling his joke book.

Hamman started playing professional baseball in 1924 with the Kelloggs Corn Flakes baseball team. In 1925, Hamman signed a Class B contract with Bay City, Michigan and moved up that same year to Wheeling (West Virginia) in the Middle Atlantic League. Ed started playing with the House of David in 1927. Hamman was with the House of David barnstorming team for the 1927 and 1928 seasons. It was with the House of David that Hamman first started seeing the entertainment side of baseball from a clowning and comedy perspective. From 1924 to 1933, Ed Hamman played professional and semipro baseball all over the country. Unfortunately, Ed never moved very far up the ladder to the Major Leagues. Ed played in places like Reynolds Springs (Michigan), Pleasant Lake and even had his own team called the Nebraska Indians. The farthest Ed got in professional baseball as a player was a tryout with the Toledo Mudhens.

In 1933, Ed Hamman joined Syd Pollock who had a barnstorming team named the Canadian Clowns. Ed started traveling with the team as a player-clown. It didn’t take too long for Ed to realize that his true talent was entertaining. Ed traveled with the Canadian Clowns from 1933 to 1938. Once Ed started his career as  “clown” he never seemed to look back. From 1933 to 1973, Ed entertained as a baseball clown all over the United States. His schedule kept him busy twelve months out of the year. He was a regular with the Indianapolis Clowns, but he also performed with the Harlem Globetrotters (baseball and basketball teams), Havana La Palomas, numerous basketball teams and countless one night engagements with Major and Minor League teams.

But Ed Hamman is best remembered for his life long association with the Indianapolis Clowns. He performed with the Clowns from 1938 until 1973 on a regular basis. In 1955 he became part owner of the Clowns with Syd Pollock. Ed bought Pollock’s interest in the Clowns in 1968 and was the sole owner of the team until he sold the team to George Long of Muscatine, Iowa in 1976.

Players who barnstormed around the country during the 1940’s to 1970’s all agreed on one thing: “no one knew more about life on the road as a baseball club than Ed Hamman.” Ed Hamman was the epitome of barnstorming baseball. If you were in the middle of nowhere and the bus broke down, Ed would know where to get it fixed. Ed knew and probably stayed in every cheap motel in the country. Ed had baseball contacts in every part of the country and no one was better at booking a barnstorming season schedule.

In short, Ed Hamman’s life and legacy was barnstorming baseball.

Ed Hammond

Ed Hamman - Indianapolis Clowns



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