Ring Lardner should not be confused with Ring Lardner Jr., a screenwriter of ``M*A*S*H.'' The original Ring (for Ringgold) was a sportswriter (later short story writer) credited with pioneering a debunking approach to sports commentary, as opposed to the general eulogizing at the time. His humorous letters from a bush-leaguer named Jack Keefe, using a colloquial idiom that Virginia Woolf praised, began in The Saturday Evening Post before forming a book, ``You Know Me Al''(1916). Her e is the first letter from an edition 1960 by Charles Scribner's Sons. Terre Haute, Indiana, September 6.
Friend Al: Well, Al old pal I suppose you seen in the paper where I been sold to the White Sox. Believe me Al it comes as a surprise to me and I bet it did to all you good old pals down home. You could of knocked me over with a feather when the old man come up to me and says Jack I've sold you to the Chicago Americans.
I didn't have no idea that anything like that was coming off. For five minutes I was just dum and couldn't say a word.
He says We aren't getting what you are worth but I want you to go up to that big league and show those birds that there is a Central League on the map. He says Go and pitch the ball you been pitching down here and there won't be nothing to it. He says All you need is the nerve and Walsh or no one else won't have nothing on you.
So I says I would do the best I could and I thanked him for the treatment I got in Terre Haute. They always was good to me here and though I did more than my share I always felt that my work was appresiated. We are finishing second and I done most of it. I can't help but be proud of my first year's record in professional baseball and you know I am not boasting when I say that Al.
Well Al it will seem funny to be up there in the big show when I never was really in a big city before. But I guess I seen enough of life not to be scared of the high buildings eh Al?
I will just give them what I got and if they don't like it they can send me back to the old Central and I will be perfectly satisfied.
I didn't know anybody was looking me over, but one of the boys told me that Jack Doyle the White Sox scout was down here looking at me when Grand Rapids was here. I beat them twice in that serious. You know Grand Rapids never had a chance with me when I was right. I shut them out in the first game and they got one run in the second on account of Flynn misjudging that fly ball. Anyway Doyle liked my work and he wired Comiskey to buy me. Comiskey come back with an offer and they excepted it. I don't know how much they got but anyway I am sold to the big league and believe me Al I will make good.
Well Al I will be home in a few days and we will have some of the good old times. Regards to all the boys and tell them I am still their pal and not all swelled up over this big league business. Your pal, JACK.