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

Music On Only A Game

November 01, 2014
Only A Game Music

It’s Halloween week on Only A Game (and everywhere else), but fear not. Bill Littlefield’s lighthearted guide of the music on this week’s show probably won’t haunt your dreams. Probably.

Favorite Teams Struggling? Maybe They’re Cursed

November 01, 2014
(Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

A slighted billy goat, a submerged Colonel Sanders statue and an alleged witch with a hurling prejudice highlight Bill Littlefield’s exploration of sports spookiness. Read on…if you dare.

In ‘The Rookie Bookie,’ Math, Sports Betting And Middle School Collide

November 01, 2014
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A children’s book about sports gambling? Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated explains to Bill Littlefield how he and co-author Tobias Moskowitz weave math, common sense and morality into their story of a middle-school oddsmaker.

Bumgarner Leads Giants Over Royals In World Series

November 01, 2014
World Series - San Francisco Giants v Kansas City Royals - Game Seven

The San Francisco Giants have won their third World Series in five years. Bill Littlefield looks back at the mastery of series MVP Madison Bumgarner and the Royals’ disappointment after a magical season.

Giants, Baseball Fans Win 2014 World Series

October 30, 2014
Madison Bumgarner pitched five scoreless innings in the Giants' Game 7 win. (Elsa/Getty Images)

“The 2014 World Series proved to be a delight,” Bill Littlefield writes.

An MLB General Manager’s Offseason To-Do List

October 29, 2014
A third baseman with nimble feet and quick hands who inspires fans to wear animal heads to the ballpark? Your favorite team's general manager may be placing a call to this fellow's agent over the winter. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

With the baseball season coming to a close, Bill Littlefield offers his suggestions for general managers aiming to have their teams in the World Series next season.

Music On Only A Game

October 25, 2014
Only A Game Music

Bill Littlefield’s benevolent reign as music blogger extraordinaire continues. The Only A Game staff is extremely impressed.

Bob Ryan Reflects On A Life In Sports In ‘Scribe’

October 25, 2014
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From basketball to football, the Olympics to golf, long-time Boston Globe sports writer and ESPN personality Bob Ryan has covered it all. He joins Bill Littlefield to talk about his new book, “Scribe: My Life in Sports.”

Remembering Bart Giamatti, A Baseball Fan

October 22, 2014
Bart Giamatti (left), seen here chatting with his predecessor, Peter Ueberroth, served as MLB Commissioner from September 1988 to September 1989.

Bill Littlefield shares his thoughts on the legacy of former MLB Commissioner Bart Giamatti, who was a fan of the game above all else.

Music On Only A Game

October 18, 2014
Music On Only A Game

Bill Littlefield ponders pea-shooters and solicits band names as his stranglehold on the Only A Game music blog continues.

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)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — 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)

BOSTON — 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)

BOSTON — 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)

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

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

July 16, 2013

BOSTON — 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)

BOSTON — “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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