James A. Riley

James A. Riley
Baseball Author and Historian

Author James A. Riley is a foremost authority on the history of baseball’s Negro Baseball Leagues. His landmark reference volume, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues (1994), is recognized as the most comprehensive work chronicling this era of baseball history. He has also written All-Time All-Stars of Black Baseball(1983), Dandy, Day, and the Devil (1987), Buck Leonard: The Black Lou Gehrig (1995), Nice Guys Finish First: The Autobiography of Monte Irvin (1996), and Negro Baseball Leagues: African-American Achievers (1997).  He served as editor for the book Barnstorming to Heaven: Syd Pollock and His Great Black Teams (University of Alabama Press, 2006).  His forthcoming books include an anthology of the Negro Baseball Leagues.

He has contributed to many compilations, including:

  • Insider’s Baseball (1983)
  • Biographical Dictionary of American Sports: Baseball (1987)
  • The Ballplayers (1990)
  • Baseball Chronology Supplement (1991)
  • Biographical Dictionary of American Sports: 1989-1992 Supplement (1992)
  • Biographical Dictionary of American Sports: 1992-1995
  • Supplement for Baseball, Football, Basketball and other sports (1995)
  • African-American Sports Greats: A Biographical Dictionary (1995)
  • The Baseball Research Journal (1981, 1982, 1985, 1991)
  • Oldtyme Baseball News (1989-95)
  • Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Yearbook (1993-94)
  • Athlon Baseball (1994 and 1995)
  • All-Star Game: Official Major League Baseball Program (1993-94)
  • An editor of the Negro Leagues Section of the Baseball Encyclopedia (1990)
  • Regular writer for The Diamond (1993-94);
  • The ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia (Barnes & Noble, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
  • African American National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2008)
  • Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives – Sports Volume (Charles Scribner’s Sons  (2002)
  • The Encyclopedia of New York State (Syracuse University Press, 2002)
  • The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives Volumes 3 and 4 (Charles Scribner’s Sons,  2001)
  • Biographical Dictionary of American Sports, Baseball II (Greenwood Press, 2000)
  • Baseball in the Peachtree State (SABR, 2010)
  • Home Run (Nippon Sports Publishing Company, Bunkyo-ku Tokyo, Japan, 1999)
  • Ted Williams Museum Yearbook (1998, 1999)
  • Don’t Forget About Josh (MSNBC on the Internet, 1998)

He is listed in International Authors and Writers Who’s Who (Fourteenth Edition, 1995-96).  A two-time recipient (1990 and 1993) of the SABR-MacMillan Research Award for his scholarship on the Negro Leagues, he has appeared in television documentaries A League Second to None (ESPN) and Safe at Home Plate (PBS) and guested on radio sports talk shows across the country.

He is also the past Director of Research at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.

He holds a B.S., East Tennessee State College (Mathematics) (1961); an M.A., East Tennessee State University (Secondary Education) (1966); and an Ed.S., Nova University (Administration & Supervision) (1982).


  • Georgia Perimeter College, Newton Campus, Covington, Georgia (Guest Speaker, Georgia Perimeter Fall Symposium, October 21, 2009)
  • Society for American Baseball Research, Detroit Chapter, Detroit, Michigan (Panelist, Late in the Game: the Tigers and Red Sox Long Road to Integration (A symposium on baseball integration, April 27, 2008)
  • Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Kansas City, MO (Panelist, (South of the Color Barrier,  November 10, 2007)
  • Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame, Atlanta, GA (Presenter, for James “Red” Moore, Induction Ceremonies, June 9, 2006)
  • Macon State College, Macon, GA (PowerPoint Presentation, The Legacy of Our Ancestors, February 15, 2005)
  • Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, Macon, GA (Panelist, The National Pastime in Black and White: The Negro Baseball Leagues, 1867-1955, January 31, 2004)
  • Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, Austin, TX (Panelist, The Spirit of Texas Baseball: Negro Leagues, July 25, 2003)
  • University of Georgia, Athens, GA (PowerPoint Presentation, Legends of the Dead Ball Era:  Dead, Dark and Free, October 26, 2002)
  • 1st Armored Division, U.S. Army, Germany (PowerPoint Presentation, The Negro Baseball Leagues, February 26-March 1, 2002)
  • Howard University, Washington, D.C. (Panelist, Howard University Sports Symposium:   The  Legacy of Griffith Stadium, September 25, 2001)
  • Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, Portsmouth, VA (Presenter, for Ray Dandridge,  Induction Banquet, May 7, 1999)
  • Ted Williams Museum, Crystal River, FL (Organizer and Coordinator, Ted Williams-Joe Jackson Symposium, May 1998)
  • Florida Sports Hall of Fame, Lake City, FL (Guest Speaker, accepted award for inductee  John Henry Lloyd, Induction Ceremonies, April 27, 1998)
  • Florida Sports Hall of Fame and Museum of Florida Sports History, Lake City, FL (Slide Presentation, Rediscovering the Negro Baseball Leagues, February 13-14, 1998)

Other Contributions

  • Serves on Advisory Committee, Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame (2004-present)
  • Served on Exhibit Steering Committee, Georgia Sports Hall of Fame (2003)

Other Television Appearances (Documentaries and Specials)

  • Japanese television documentary:  The Pittsburgh Crawfords (Office Two-One, Inc., 1999)

Professional Organizations

  • Member of Socity for American Baseball Reserch since 1979
  • President, Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) (1999-2001)
  • Director, Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) (1996-1999)


  • East Tennessee State University National Alumni Association Award of Honor  (2000)
  • SABR Negro Leagues Committee Lifetime Achievement Award  (1998)

James A. Riley is a transplanted Tennessean and made the Sunshine State his home for over 30 years after graduating from East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee in 1961.  He and his wife, Dottie, now reside in the Atlanta, Georgia area.