You Know Me Al - Ring Lardner

The missing comma in the book title You Know Me Al by short story king Ring Lardner is not an oversight. The subtitle is A Busher's Letters which are purportedly written by Jack Keefe, a semi-literate and up-and-coming pitcher who breaks into the major leagues by brute strength and indefatigable effort. His prowess on the mound is matched only by his obtuseness with everything else. He is taken advantage of by the women around him, his roommate, the team owner, and a host of others. He continually threatens to wallop his many antagonists in the jaw, but resigns himself to fate.

Ring Lardner employs actual players: Christy Mathewson, White Sox owner Charles Comiskey, and the infamous Ty Cobb. These are not just characters brought in for verisimilitude. Lardner covered baseball in the years before the Great War.

It’s an amusing read - I knocked it off in two days' worth of about 5-6 hours. It’s a book by a baseball writer about a baseball player that mostly takes place during baseball season, but it’s a study of human nature. Lardner was admired by no less than Virginia Woolf and Ernest Hemingway, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying this.

Patrick Hubbell - August 20, 2016

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