Sign in
Create Account
All American Game  | Story  | 8/12/2022

Clark Embracing Spotlight On Way To PGAAC

Blake Dowson     
Photo: Max Clark (Perfect Game)
Everybody knows Max Clark.

Scouts love him for the five tools he so easily shows on the baseball field – the way he glides around the outfield and barrels up balls at the plate can look effortless. Kids love him for the highlights they see on social media – the doubles celebrations and the mic’d up moments. It can be a lot of pressure on a prospect, being the No. 1 overall player in the 2023 class with over 300,000 followers on Instagram and Tik Tok.

“I wear it as a badge of honor,” Clark said. “But I wouldn’t say it’s like an end-all, be-all for me. I’m blessed to have the ability to go out there and play my game and have that represented as the No. 1 player in the country...It’s a blessing and a curse, but it’s something that I would never change.”

It’s been like this for a few years now. As a freshman at the 2020 WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Clark hit .375 and made the All-Tournament Team in his first Perfect Game event playing for Team Indiana. That’s when he said things started to change. More love from coaches and scouts within the game, more followers online from people who admire his game. In the first re-rank of the 2023 class after that trip to Jupiter, Clark jumped from No. 51 overall in the class to No. 7.

Then he won Gatorade Player of the Year in Indiana as a sophomore. After that, video game-like numbers all summer long on the travel ball circuit. By the end of the summer, he was the No. 1 overall player in the class.

This is a new thing for high-end prospects like Clark, dealing with the experience of blowing up on social media while also navigating the normal trials and tribulations of having your every move picked apart in a draft cycle.

Clark loves it, though. He sees it as an opportunity, not a burden.

“You’ve got your haters and your keyboard warriors,” he said. “But it’s also really cool to go and connect to other kids out there. There are kids out there that look at me as a role model. That’s a really cool feeling. My social media is a way to reach out to them and let them know that you can be from anywhere and do whatever you want as long as you work for it.”

Clark takes pride in his own story. That’s why he’s fine with putting it out there for all to see. Indiana isn’t the baseball hot bed that maybe Florida, Georgia, or California are. But hard work wins the day. He’s proof of that.

He was in the gym, working, when he got the call that he was a Perfect Game All-American. He and his buddies celebrated quickly with some high-fives and hugs, he called his family, then got back in the cage.

This game requires that level of dedication and determination if you want to reach the heights Clark is intent on reaching. He’s played in Major League parks thanks to the showcases he has been invited to. He plans on making them his office a few years down the road.

That road will be full potholes, Clark admits. Baseball is a game of failure. Even for the No. 1 player in the country, getting sent back to the dugout in 60-70 percent of his at-bats is deemed a successful day.

“The most challenging thing about baseball is being able to handle failure,” Clark said. “Being able to flush it. Just being able to go out there and play your game, even when you know it’s not going to work 70 percent of the time. It’s just a mentally challenging game. But that’s what I love about it.

“There’s nobody who can go out there and perfect the game. The game is always improving. If you’re not improving, you’re getting passed by.”

Clark said he focuses solely on things he can control, something he was told early on and said is good advice for anyone wanting to be great in this game.

What are those things?

“You can control your effort, you control your attitude,” he said. “The way you treat your teammates and coaches, the other team.”

That knowledge was instilled in him early on at home, where his role models – more commonly referred to as mom, dad, and brother – started teaching him what it would take to be successful. Clark fell in love with baseball around six or seven years old because of those talks.

They’re the reason he wakes up every morning excited to get just a little bit better that day. That No. 1 overall ranking he owns is awesome. The social media following he has created has led to great opportunities.

Nothing compares to who and where you came from, though.

“It all just kind of hit me when I was young,” Clark said. “It was crazy. It was something I wanted to go out and do every single day. I wanted to play catch with my dad and my brother, I wanted to go hit with my mom.

“That’s the reason I play now. Those role models are who I play for, my family. They have made so many sacrifices and taken me to so many different places across the United States to be able to play this game. I’m super blessed for that. I definitely play because of them and it’s definitely the reason I fell in love with the game.”