Phil Collier began his career as a sportswriter in Baytown, Texas in 1939. After his military service and a stint at Texas Christian University, he joined the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. His editor was Jack Murphy.
When Murphy moved to San Diego, CA in 1951, he quickly brought along Collier. In San Diego, Collier covered the Pacific Coast League San Diego Padres until the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, CA. For the next decade, he covered both Dodgers and Angels games for the San Diego Tribune. Collier was the sportswriter who Sandy Koufax called to inform the baseball world of his sudden retirement.
When San Diego was awarded the major league Padres, Collier picked up their beat. He covered the team for 18 seasons. In 1987, Collier became the national baseball columnist for the Tribune. He continued to write for the Tribune after their merger with the San Diego Union in 1992. He retired from the paper in 1996. He was awarded the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in 1990.