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You Know Me Al

You Know Me Al by Ring Lardner
By: (1885-1933)

"You Know Me Al" by Ring Lardner is a collection of letters written by Jack Keefe, a young baseball player trying to navigate the ups and downs of his career. The book provides a candid and humorous look into the life of a professional athlete, showcasing Keefe's flaws and quirks as he grapples with success and failure.

Lardner's writing skillfully captures Keefe's voice, making his letters feel authentic and relatable. The character's witty observations and self-deprecating humor add depth to his personality, making him a likable protagonist despite his flaws. The letters also offer insights into the world of baseball during the early 20th century, providing a glimpse into the challenges and triumphs of athletes during this time.

Overall, "You Know Me Al" is a charming and entertaining read that will appeal to fans of baseball, humorous fiction, and character-driven stories. Lardner's storytelling abilities shine as he brings Jack Keefe's world to life, making this book a memorable and enjoyable read.

Book Description:

Big, fat, dumb, lazy, vain, headstrong and cheap, Jack Keefe is a journeyman pitcher with the Chicago White Sox in the rowdy days of the Deadball Era, circa 1915, ruled by the likes of Ty Cobb and John McGraw. In You Know Me Al, we follow Jack Keefe’s life on-field and off, via the letters Jack writes to his old chum Al in his home town of Bedford, Indiana.

Ring Lardner was a Chicago sportswriter who covered the White Sox, and he brought an insider’s knowledge of clubhouse life together with his biting wit and gift for the vernacular to create a comic gem in You Know Me Al. The six Jack Keefe stories that compose this volume were originally written as individual magazine articles, but the epistolary format made it easy to collect them into a single running narrative covering Jack’s first two years in the Big Leagues.

It isn’t necessary to know baseball history to enjoy the book, which is as much about Jack’s troubles with girlfriends, wives and babies as it is about the Chicago White Sox. For the baseball fan, however, this glimpse into a bygone era adds an extra layer of fascination. In any case, Lardner’s portrait of the professional ballplayer as a dumb, drunken narcissist is as funny today as the day it was written.

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