In his short life, Lee Allen contributed much to the further understanding of the game of baseball. He began his career as a writer for the Cincinnati Enquirer before moving to the Cincinnati Reds publicity department. Due to World War II and his position in the Reds organization, Allen also called games on the radio in 1943 and 1944. He wrote the Reds' team history, in the series published by G.P. Putnam, entitled The Cincinnati Reds, in 1948. He served in the Reds front office through 1958. He also wrote The Giants and the Dodgers.
In 1959, Allen was summoned to the Hall of Fame to replace Ernest Lanigan as historian. As historian, the energetic Allen tracked down several forgotten players, both dead and alive. As he explained: "I care very little for statistics as such. My concern is the players. Who are these men? What are they? What problems have they faced? Where are they now?" His research contributed to the publication of the first Baseball Encyclopedia in 1969. He also wrote frequently for Baseball Digest and the Sporting News for which he authored a regular column entitled "Cooperstown Corner". His most famous book is probably The Hot Stove League, published in 1955.
- Lee Allen: Cooperstown Corner: Columns from The Sporting News, 1962-1969, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 1990.
- Steve Gietschier: "Lee Allen", in The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 39, Number 1 (Summer 2010), p. 123.