Sports executive Jimmie Lee Solomon was born on March 11, 1956 in Thompson, Texas to Jimmie Lee Solomon, Jr. and Josephine Solomon. In 1974, Solomon graduated from Lamar Consolidated High School in Rosenberg, Texas and received an academic scholarship to attend Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, where he played in the position of wide receiver on the Dartmouth football team. He earned his B.A. degree in history from Dartmouth College in 1978. After he was cut from the Houston Oilers’ NFL training camp, Solomon attended Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts and earned his J.D. degree in 1981.
Solomon joined the law firm of Baker and Hostetler in Washington, D.C. as the first African American attorney, where he specialized in sports and corporate law. After nine years of service to the firm, he was promoted to partner. In 1991, Solomon became Major League Baseball’s (MLB) director of minor league operations before being promoted to executive director of minor league operations and then to senior vice president of baseball operations, where he was responsible for over 170 teams and 4,500 players, and he also established the Major League Baseball Futures Game, as well as the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy, which provided baseball facilities and training to inner-city children and teenagers. In 1997, Solomon negotiated a ten-year agreement between MLB and the Minor Leagues, generating an economic benefit of $170 million to the Major League. In 2005, Solomon was named executive vice president of baseball operations by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. In that position, he created the Civil Rights Game in honor of baseball’s position at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement as one of the first integrated organizations in the country, and the MLB Urban Invitational. Solomon became the executive vice president for baseball development in 2010. He retired from Major League Baseball in 2012.
Solomon was known for his work in bringing more African Americans to the game of baseball and was honored by Sports Illustrated as one of the magazine’s “101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports. He was also named as one of the “40 Most Powerful African Americans in Sports” by Black Enterprise.
Solomon has one daughter, Tricia.
Jimmie Lee Solomon was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 7, 2017.