Ring Lardner (1885-1933) was a sports columnist and short story writer best known for his satirical takes on the sports world, marriage, and the theatre. He was born in Niles, Michigan, and from adolescence his ambition was to become a sports reporter, an ambition he fulfilled in 1907 by getting a position on the Chicago “Inter-Ocean.” He went on to become a noted sports columnist in Chicago and New York City.
In 1916 Lardner published his first book of short stories, “You Know Me, Al,” which was written in the form of letters written by a bush league baseball player to a friend back home. Like most of Lardner’s stories, it employed satire to show the stupidity and cupidity of a certain type of athlete. Lardner went on to write such well-known stories as “Haircut,” “Some Like Them Cold,” “The Golden Honeymoon,” “Alibi Ike,” and “A Day in the Life of Conrad Green.”
Lardner also had a lifelong fascination with the theatre, though his only success was “June Moon,” a comedy co-written with Broadway veteran George S. Kaufman. He did write a series of brief nonsense plays which poked fun at the conventions of the theatre using zany, offbeat humor and outrageous, impossible stage directions.
Lardner was a close friend of F. Scott Fitzgerald and other writers of the Jazz Age, and he was published by Fitzgerald’s editor, Maxwell Perkins. Lardner never wrote a novel, but is considered by many to be one of America’s best writers of the short story.