Tuesday, March 6, 2018

One of Ring Lardner's short stories told of a couple's 1920s train trip to St. Petersburg

Ring Lardner, Sr.
It is the birthday of short story writer and sports columnist Ring Lardner (1885), whose use of American vernacular and wry sense of humor continues to endear him to readers 85 years after his death. In his teens, he began work at the South Bend Tribune, in a job he essentially stole from his brother, was also a sports writer. He started writing the nationally syndicated In the Wake of the News column at the Chicago Tribune in 1913, and became a household name. The Black Sox scandal of 1919 changed the way he wrote about sports and, especially, his beloved baseball. He felt betrayed by the Chicago White Sox, some of whom sold out the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. But he is most remembered for his humorous short stories, notably baseball yarns like You Know Me, Al (1914), a series of vernacular letters by a bush league pitcher, and Alibi Ike (1915), about a player, whose skill on the field was exceeded only by his penchant for making up excuses for his performance. One of Lardner's short stories, The Golden Honeymoon (1922), is the amusing tale of a retired couple who makes a trip on the train to St. Petersburg for vacation.

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