WBUR Staff

Bill Littlefield

Host, Only A Game , WBUR

Bill Littlefield has been the host of Only A Game since the program began in 1993. He’s been a commentator for WBUR and NPR since 1984.  For several years he hit second (Tuesday) in a Morning Edition line-up that included Frank Deford on Monday and Red Barber on Friday.

“Take Me Out”, Bill’s collection of sport-and-games-related doggerel, will be published in September by Zephyr Press, and in January, 2015, Library of America will publish “The Best of W.C. Heinz”, which Bill edited, and for which he wrote the introduction.  His other books include Only A Game and Keepers, both collections of his radio and magazine work; Prospect and The Circus in the Woods, both novels; and Baseball Days and Champions: Stories of Ten Remarkable Athletes. He was the guest editor for Houghton Mifflin’s Best American Sports Writing in 1998, and his essay “The Gym At Third and Ross” was featured in the 2013 edition. He writes a column about sports-related books for the Boston Globe.

Though his daughters, Amy and Alison, have grown too old for Bill to coach them, he still has nightmares about youth league basketball games in which he was allegedly an official.

Recent stories

‘League Of Outsider Baseball’ Celebrates The Game’s Obscure And Unappreciated

May 23, 2015
League of Outsider Baseball Cover Image

Baseball has plenty of well-known heroes — guys like Ted Williams and Babe Ruth. But what about the game’s obscure and unappreciated stars? You’ll find some of them in Gary Cieradkowski’s new book, “The League of Outsider Baseball.” The author joins Bill Littlefield to share the story of two pitchers — one Japanese, one Chinese — who went head-to-head in the Pacific Coast League during the Sino-Japanese War.

‘(Dis)Honesty’ Explores Why People — And Athletes — Cheat

May 23, 2015
Tim Donaghy was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison after the 2007 NBA betting scandal. (Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

A new film titled “(Dis)Honesty — The Truth About Lies” looks at why we cheat. Disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy and Dan Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke, join Bill Littlefield to discuss dishonesty in sports.

Commentary: Taking All The Air Out Of Deflate-Gate

May 20, 2015
Why are we talking about football in May? The NHL and NBA playoffs are taking place, baseball is in full swing, and everyone is talking football. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Why is America abuzz with the NFL’s Deflate-Gate news when three other major sports are in full swing? Bill Littlefield offers one theory…

Was Baseball Great Ty Cobb Really A Racist? New Biography Says No

May 16, 2015
Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty

A new biography of baseball legend Ty Cobb disputes the long-held beliefs that Cobb was a racist and a dirty player. Author Charles Leerhsen joins Bill Littlefield to explain how his research exposed earlier stories of Cobb as lies.

Isiah Thomas Named President Of WNBA’s Liberty. Wait, What?

May 16, 2015
After winning two championships with the Pistons, Isiah Thomas coached the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks. (Al Bello/AFP/Getty Images)

Isiah Thomas was a Hall of Fame point guard with the Detroit Pistons. His post-playing career has been far less successful. But somehow he’s landed a new job as president of the WNBA’s New York Liberty. Bill Littlefield takes a closer look.

As Concussion Crisis Mounts, NFL Turns To … Cardiology Specialist?

May 13, 2015
Dr. Elizabeth Nabel is the president of Brigham and Women's Hospital, and now the chief health and medical adviser for the NFL. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, president of Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, was recently appointed the National Football League’s chief medical adviser. Bill Littlefield looks at the implications of the move.

Why We Stopped Avoiding Clichés … Like The Plague

May 09, 2015
Only A Game

Bill Littlefield explains the inspiration behind this week’s show.

‘A Home Run For Bunny’ Tells Inspiring Tale

May 09, 2015
0116_oag_Bunny Cover-crop

The children’s book ‘A Home Run For Bunny’ tells the story of a remarkable baseball team from Springfield, Mass., who stood up against racial injustice in the 1930s. The author and illustrator join Bill Littlefield.

Baseball Isn’t Just for Boys Anymore

May 09, 2015
Michaela Sihler. (Bill Littlefield/Only A Game)

More than 50 years after the All American Girls Professional Baseball League entertained crowds during World War II, women and girls are still struggling to find their place in the sport. Bill Littlefield meets with a group that’s making sure the younger generation gets a chance at bat in our national pastime.

Catching Up With A Lovable Loser: Zippy Chippy

May 09, 2015
Zippy Chippy wishes you a happy New Year. (Bill Littlefield/Only A Game)

After 100 races — and zero victories — Zippy Chippy called it quits. But his futility has made him a celebrity in horse racing circles. We first profiled Zippy in 1999. More recently, Bill Littlefield caught up with the lovable loser, who was enjoying a pleasant retirement.

A ‘Signature Signing': Revs Land Jermaine Jones

August 26, 2014
U.S. midfielder Jermaine Jones (13) celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during a World Cup match against Portugal in Brazil on June 22. (Julio Cortez/AP)

The New England Revolution have acquired 32-year-old midfielder Jermaine Jones, who was last seen starring for the U.S. national team at the 2014 World Cup.

Liverpool Football Club Teaches Fundamentals, Fun Of Game To Perkins Students

July 23, 2014
(Marc Finn/WBUR)

The service arm of the Liverpool Football Club — along with a couple of team legends — was at the Perkins School For the Blind to teach soccer to some of the students using special equipment for the visually impaired.

Bill Russell: Champion Of Basketball And Civil Rights

November 01, 2013
Former Celtics player Bill Russell speaks at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Aug. 28, 2013. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Public preservation hasn’t seemed to matter much to Bill Russell, but it’s likely he’s pleased with the portion of his monument — set to be unveiled in Boston — that includes messages about teamwork.

Sox Welcome P Peavy To Rotation, Clubhouse

August 01, 2013
Then-Chicago White Sox starter Jake Peavy pitches July 25. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

The Red Sox traded for the Cy Young winner late Tuesday.

Bill Littlefield: Many Factors Working In Red Sox’s Favor

July 16, 2013

Half-way through the season, the Boston Red Sox have the best record in the American League. Bill Littlefield that is due in part to what other team’s aren’t doing.

The Potential Interpretations Of Rondo's Shoving Match

November 29, 2012
The Celtics' Rajon Rondo walks off the court after being ejected in the second quarter against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

Celtics guard Rajon Rondo was suspended for two games Thursday for a skirmish in Wednesday night’s game. Only A Game’s host shares his thoughts.

Commentary: Should Athlete Involvement In Harvard’s Cheating Scandal Change The Story?

September 12, 2012
Harvard's Kyle Casey plans to withdraw from school amid a cheating scandal that also may involve other athletes, according to several reports. (AP)

Over 100 students are being investigated for cheating, but the involvement of the co-captains of the basketball team has altered the discussion.

Littlefield On Pesky: Recalling A Great Storyteller

August 14, 2012
Late Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky, right, and WBUR's Bill Littlefield, during one of their many interviews (Only A Game File Photo)

Johnny Pesky, the Red Sox’ unofficial ambassador, passed away Monday. WBUR’s Bill Littlefield recalls the beloved longtime member of the organization.

In Needham, Gymnast Aly Raisman Is A Hometown Hero

August 01, 2012
Olympic medalist Aly Raisman  is the captain of the U.S. women's gymnastics team at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. (AP)

“Only A Game” host Bill Littlefield and Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman live in the same town, Needham, where the town is wild about Aly.

Bob Ryan’s Definition Of Retiring: Still Working, But Less

July 19, 2012

Longtime Boston Globe sports writer Bob Ryan is set to retire after the London Olympics, but it won’t be a matter of sitting on the porch with a pitcher of cold lemonade and a scrapbook.

Most Popular