Max Patkin, known as the Clown Prince of Baseball for his goofy antics in an oversized uniform at minor league games, died yesterday. He was 79.

The West Philadelphia native had been hospitalized with a ruptured aorta for a week and died unexpectedly of an aneurysm at Paoli (Pa.) Memorial Hospital, his daughter Joy Tietsworth said. Patkin had been living with her for several years in Exton, Pa.

Patkin, who starred as himself in the minor league movie classic, "Bull Durham," was a minor league pitcher before World War II. He began clowning around in lopsided games while in the service, catching the attention of Bill Veeck, who hired him as a comic coach to boost attendance at Cleveland Indians games. When the Indians began to win and did not need Patkin to draw crowds, Veeck got him started with minor league ballclubs. Though Patkin always wanted to return to pitching, he was convinced by Joe DiMaggio among others to continue with his rubber-faced slapstick, which became a baseball tradition.

Olympics

IOC Begins Reform

The International Olympic Committee's reform panel, meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, failed to resolve the crucial issue of whether members should be banned from visiting bid cities. But the panel endorsed a series of other key proposals, including the appointment of 15 athletes to the IOC and the introduction of an eight-year term of office and re-election process for IOC members.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a member of the IOC 2000 reform commission, said the reform package will satisfy the IOC's critics in Congress. "I think more has been achieved than many . . . thought possible," he said. "I think we're making good progress."

The 80-member task force, set up in the wake of the Salt Lake City bribery scandal, examined 50 proposals drafted by its executive committee. The final recommendations will be submitted to the full IOC general assembly at a special session in Lausanne Dec. 11-12.

Basketball

Pitt Player Returns

University of Pittsburgh forward Chris Seabrooks, arrested last week for aggravated assault, was reinstated to the men's basketball team. During a criminal hearing Friday, Seabrooks pleaded guilty to harassment and disorderly conduct. Seabrooks received a 90-day suspended sentence for harassment and was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service for disorderly conduct.

Assistant public defender Marcy Nord suggested that Seabrooks could fulfill his public service by leading basketball clinics for children.

Rugby

Australia Reaches Final

In London, fly-half Stephen Larkham kicked a drop goal and Matt Burke added two penalties to give Australia a 27-21 Rugby World Cup semifinal overtime win over defending champion South Africa. Australia, now in its second final, will face the winner of today's semifinal between New Zealand and France Saturday in Cardiff, Wales.

Figure Skating

Goebel Gets Second

Timothy Goebel, 19, the first American to complete a quadruple in competition last year, nailed a quad Salchow-triple toe loop combination, a quad toe loop and a solo quad Salchow at Skate America in Colorado Springs.

At the end of his jumping-jack performance, which moved him from third place to second behind two-time world champion Alexei Yagudin, he covered his face with his hand. "I just couldn't believe I did three quads," he said. "It was so unreal."

U.S. champion Michael Weiss had a rough night, falling on his first two jumps and finishing fourth behind three-time world champion Elvis Stojko of Canada.

Michelle Kwan captured her fourth title at this first major international competition of the season.