A native of Ironton, Ohio, and a graduate of Ohio University, Ritter Collett joined the staff of the Dayton (Ohio) Journal in 1946, soon after his discharge from the Army Air Corps. Following mergers of Dayton's three newspapers, he became sports editor of the Journal Herald and then of the Daily News.
Collett was one of the founders of baseball's annual Hutch Award (named after former Reds manager Fred Hutchinson) recognizing a major league player who has overcome serious adversity, with an accompanying scholarship awarded for cancer research. He also headed the selection committee for Phi Delta Theta fraternity's annual award in honor of Lou Gehrig.
The author of five books, Collett was a member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America from 1947 until his death on September 25, 2001. He covered every World Series from 1946 to 1990.