Lonnie Wheeler was born in 1952 in St. Louis, Missouri. After graduating from the University of Missouri, he worked for several newspapers including the Anderson Independent in South Carolina, the Clarion Ledger in Mississippi, and the Cincinnati Enquirer. He eventually transitioned into magazine work and writing books. His fist two books, The Cincinnati Game and Bleachers: A Summer in Wrigley Field, were published in 1988. His other works include I Had a Hammer, Stranger to the Game, and Long Shot.