You Know Me Al

Front Cover
Transaction Publishers, 2010 - Fiction - 172 pages
19 Reviews

Due to his interest in baseball, Lardner began putting stories in his newspaper column that were purportedly written by unlettered athletes. Lardner, who had an excellent ear for dialogue, actually wrote these stories in the voice of the fictional rookie ballplayer Jack Keefe, a White Sox pitcher, who writes letters to his friend Al Blanchard back home in Bedford, Indiana. They remain peerless.

You Know Me Al gives a detailed account of Jack Keefe's problems and concerns that he encounters in the big leagues. Having first been bought by the Chicago White Sox, he is then sold to San Francisco, re-bought by Chicago, and eventually passed onto the New York Giants. Throughout the book and his letters Jack gives his complaints, shows off, and makes fanciful justifications on what is taking place on the field. Indeed the stories reveal baseball folklore—now and then.

Several streams of American comic tradition merge in You Know Me Al: the comic letter, the wisecrack, the braggart character, the use of sporting vocabulary and fractured English as a means to carry on apologetics. This collection of short stories revealed Lardner's talent for the sports idiom he made famous and is also credited with being one of the first books to criticize the excesses, hero-worship, and myth-making of sports.

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Review: You Know Me Al

User Review  - Frank - Goodreads

This book is constructed as a series of letters from a major-league pitcher to his buddy back home. The schtick is, he is not the brightest bulb on the tree and is taken advantage of, repeatedly ... Read full review

Review: You Know Me Al

User Review  - Bfisher - Goodreads

When I read this, it helped me to understand the baseball players in the Black Sox scandal. Although this book was published in 1916, I could see how a person like Jack Keefe, the player depicted in the story, could become entangled in a plot to fix the 1919 World Series. Read full review

About the author (2010)

Ring W. Lardner (1885-1933), America's great humorist and short-story writer, began his career as a sports writer. His stories, often cynical and pessimistic, are peopled by ordinary characters. He often used his own experiences as inspiration for his fiction. Some of his other works include Round Up , Haircut , and The Big Town .nbsp;

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