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

Before He Was MVP: Steve Nash’s Career At Santa Clara

March 28, 2015
On Tuesday, two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash announced his retirement. (Harry How/Getty Images)

This week, two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash announced his retirement. Long before he was an NBA star, Nash was a little-known point guard for Santa Clara University. His coach and a former teammate share their favorite stories from Nash’s college career.

Applauding Boston’s Move Toward An Olympic Referendum

March 25, 2015
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh speaks during a news conference in Boston Friday, Jan. 9, 2015 after Boston was picked by the USOC as its bid city for the 2024 Olympic Summer Games. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

Bill Littlefield muses on the upcoming referendum in Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Olympics.

In ‘Cuba Straits,’ Doc Ford Series Takes The Diamond

March 21, 2015
0320_oag_cubastraits-crop

The 22nd book in Randy Wayne White’s Doc Ford Series includes a fictional character who attempts to smuggle a Cuban baseball player into the U.S. The author joins Bill Littlefield to discuss “Cuba Straits” and his own experience distributing baseball gear in the country.

At NCAA Tournament, Refs Also Compete To Reach Final Four

March 21, 2015
(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Players and coaches aren’t the only ones hoping to advance through the NCAA tournament. Referees also advance round by round and they have their eyes on the Final Four. Bill Littlefield has the story.

Music On Only A Game

March 20, 2015
Only A Game Music

In this week’s music blog, Bill Littlefield shows off his translating skills.

An Open Letter To Pete Rose

March 18, 2015
Pete Rose has been banned from baseball since 1989. (Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)

Major League Baseball’s hit leader, Pete Rose, has applied to be returned to the good graces of the game. Bill Littlefield suggests Rose might want to think twice.

Music On Only A Game

March 14, 2015
Only A Game Music

In this week’s music blog, Bill Littlefield offers a pop quiz.

Report: Responsibility For Doping Problem Goes Beyond Armstrong

March 14, 2015
(Gail Oskin/Getty Images)

A new report released by the International Cycling Union has found that the International Cycling Union deserves much of the blame for what went wrong with cycling. Bill Littlefield comments.

W.C. Heinz Revisited … And Republished

March 14, 2015
Jamaica Race Track in New York City was the setting for the column "Death of a Racehorse," by W.C. Heinz. (JR/AP)

“The Top of His Game,” a collection of the writing from sports writer W.C. Heinz, came out this week. Bill Littlefield edited the collection and shares some of his favorite passages — and memories of Heinz.

Have Sports Become ‘Too Big To Fail’?

March 11, 2015
The Olympics and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim are just two examples of sports becoming "too big to fail," says Bill Littlefield. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The NFL has been plagued by scandal. Two of college basketball’s elite programs have been in the news for all the wrong reasons. But fans continue to watch. Bill Littlefield wonders if sports have become “too big to fail.”

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.

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