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

Remembering A World War I Truce On Christmas Eve — 100 Years Later

December 17, 2014
(General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)

Bill Littlefield reflects on a remarkable World War I ceasefire that featured a soccer game between German and British troops.

Music On Only A Game

December 13, 2014
oag-music-blog-image

This week’s show includes a lot of holiday music…and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

‘Chase Your Shadow’ Details Pistorius’ Life, Trial

December 13, 2014
(Kim Ludbrook/ - Pool/EPA/Gallo Image/Getty Images)

A new book explores the life of Oscar Pistorius, the South African Olympic hero who was recently convicted of “culpable homicide” in the Feb. 2013 shooting death of his then-girlfriend. Bill Littlefield speaks to John Carlin, author of “Chase Your Shadow.”

‘I Can’t Breathe’ Protests Reach Pro Sports

December 13, 2014
Before the Cavaliers' game against the Nets on Dec. 8, LeBron James warmed up in an "I Can't Breathe" t-shirt. (Kathy Willens/AP)

LeBron James and other high-profile athletes have used their pre-game wardrobe choices to join the nationwide conversation concerning police brutality and race. Some say the athletes need to make a bolder move. Bill Littlefield reports on the issue.

Olympic Hosting Not Without Peril

December 10, 2014
(Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

“A mad indulgence and a glorious spectacle” — hosting the Olympic Games can bring a city both prestige and problems. Bill Littlefield believes the representatives of cities vying to host the 2024 Summer Games should recognize both sides.

Music On Only A Game

December 06, 2014
Only A Game Music

Yep! Literally. This week’s show features music from the band yeP! Bill Littlefield explains all (once he finishes typing the album name, yeP!onymous).

Perry Wallace’s Success And Struggles As SEC’s First Black Basketball Player

December 06, 2014
Former Vanderbilt basketball player Perry Wallace was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. (Frank Empson, The Tennessean. © 2014)

Andrew Maraniss’ new book “Strong Inside” explores the The Struggles And Success Of of Vanderbilt’s Perry Wallace, the fist black player in the SEC. Wallace made his varsity debut in 1967. Maraniss and Wallace join Bill Littlefield.

MLS Cup Preview: Revolution Vs. Galaxy

December 06, 2014
The stakes will be high for Landon Donovan's final game: On Sunday he and the Galaxy face the New England Revolution in the MLS Cup. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

While the Revolution seeks its first MLS Cup, the Galaxy is hoping to send retiring star Landon Donovan off with his sixth title. Bill Littlefield has more on Sunday’s matchup.

Playing Surface Controversy Continues Ahead Of Women’s World Cup

December 03, 2014
The entire Australian women's national team is prepared to join the lawsuit against FIFA , according to lawyer Hampton Dellinger. (Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

The official draw for groups for the 2015 women’s World Cup is scheduled for Dec. 6. Meanwhile, the dispute over plans to use artificial turf at the competition is ongoing. Bill Littlefield weighs in on the situation.

Music On Only A Game

November 29, 2014

From “Tequila” to the Jeopardy theme song, this week’s show has music to suit any mood.

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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