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Hall of Fame writer Ritter Collett dies

DAYTON – A legend’s typewriter is silent.

Wednesday, September 26, 2001

DAYTON – A legend’s typewriter is silent. Ironton native and Major League Baseball Hall of Fame sports writer Ritter Collett died Tuesday at the age of 80.

Collett was in an automobile accident Sept. 11 and underwent an operation for a head injury. He had been on a life support system.

Collett began his writing career at the age of 16 for the Ironton News, a paper started by his father and uncle that was the forerunner of the Ironton Tribune. The paper was located at the corner of South Fifth Street and Park Avenue which is now Lincoln Savings & Loan.

After a stint in the military, Collett attended Ohio University and then became sports editor of the Dayton Journal-Herald, now the Daily News, in 1944 and retained the title of sports editor emeritus after retiring in 1990.

Collett has written several books on the Cincinnati Reds and former Ohio State quarterback Art Schlichter. He also wrote historical accounts for the Reds yearbooks.

His career reached its pinnacle when he was elected to the writers’ wing of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and inducted Aug. 2, 1992.

Collett began covering baseball for the Dayton Journal in 1946. He was the 43rd writer to receive the J. G. Taylor Spink Award. The Spink Award goes to sports writers who have covered baseball with distinction.

A 1972 Ironton Sports Day honoree, Collett covered every World Series from 1946-1990 and covered 45 consecutive Opening Day games in Cincinnati until he missed in 1991 after undergoing surgery.

He held the No. 1 card issued by the Baseball Writers Association of America, meaning he has been a BBWAA member longer than any other writer.

Collett was one of the founders of the Fred Hutchinson Scholarship Fund in 1965. The foundation awards a scholarship each year to a graduate engaged in cancer research.

The scholarship was named after the late Reds manager who died of cancer in November of 1964.

He also administered the Hutch Award which is presented annually to a major league player who has overcome adversity in the manner Hutchinson did.

Collett continued to write a weekly column after retiring.