The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Ralph Wiley

Ralph Wiley (April 12, 1952 - June 13, 2004) was a sports journalist, writing for various publications, such as Sports Illustrated and's Page 2 section.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Wiley attended Knoxville College from 1972-75, eventually landing his first professional journalism job at the Knoxville-Kayana Spectrum .

Upon graduation, Wiley earned a position at the Oakland Tribune, where he coined the famous phrase "Billyball" to describe the managerial style of Billy Martin. He quickly climbed up the ranks from copyboy to beat writer, and eventually became a regular columnist. In 1982, he was hired by Sports Illustrated, where he wrote 28 cover stories over a 9 year period, mainly about boxing, football and baseball.

Wiley published several books during the course of his career, including Serenity, A Boxing Memoir , Why Black People Tend To Shout and , with Spike Lee.

Additionally, Wiley wrote articles for GQ, Premiere and National Geographic. He was a weekly contributor to's Page 2, where he wrote more than 240 columns. His presence on TV included ESPN's Sports Reporters and regular guest appearances on Sportscenter.

Wiley died of a heart attack on June 13, 2004 while watching Game 4 of the 2004 NBA Finals. He was survived by his son, Cole, his daughter, Maggie, his mother, Dorothy Brown, and his fiancée, Susan Peacock.

Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04