Ringgold Wilmer Lardner was born on March 6, 1885 in Niles, Mich. His unusual first name came from the Civil War Union admiral Cadwallader Ringgold, but he disliked his name and shortened it to Ring. Although he came to journalism somewhat by chance, taking a position that had originally been offered to his brother, Lardner soon found his niche, writing first about sports, particularly baseball, and later a humor column. Lardner worked as a sportswriter for several papers, including the Chicago American, the Boston American, and The Chicago Tribune. Eventually he began to write short stories, and today he is best known for his stories about baseball, and in particular You Know Me Al, a series of letters from Jack Keefe, a fictional baseball star, to his hometown friend, Al. The letters first appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in 1914, and then were published in book form in 1916. Other short-story collections include Round Up, The Busher Returns, Gullible's Travels, and First and Last. Lardner also wrote one novel, The Big Town, and collaborated with George S. Kaufman on the play June Moon, which opened on Broadway in 1929 and was filmed a year later. Ring Lardner died in East Hampton, Long Island, N.Y. in 1933. Lardner's son, Ring Lardner, Jr., is also a writer whose credits include the screenplay for the movie M*A*S*H.