Don Riley

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(Journalists/Historians/Photographers)
Born: November 10, 1923
Induction: 2010

This legendary sportswriter from Minneapolis’ Roosevelt High School, actually made his mark across the bridge in the city of Saint Paul. From 1943 to 1988, Riley captivated millions of readers with his daily sports columns and feature stories that were chocked full of witty one-liners and behind the scenes inside scoops; scoops that only Riley could elicit from the training camps of boxers. Whenever it seemed that two fighters were avoiding each other from a match that all Minnesota boxing fans wanted to see, Riley used the power of the pen to question their hearts, and goad them into giving fans the fights they wanted to see the most.

Many of the best local rivalries that we now recall with pleasure, happened to some degree from a steady amount of public pressure from Mr. Riley. He could be a manager’s best friend in terms of publicity, or worst nightmare in terms of public chastisement; but for fans of fisticuffs, he was always the agent that worked tirelessly to set the stage for mega fights. It usually worked. In addition to covering boxing for the Pioneer Press for 45 years, Don also called fights from the broadcast booth for various popular radio stations such as WTCN and WMIN. He is recognized as one of the best fight writers of the 20th Century, and one of the most charismatic characters of Minnesota sports.