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

Crime And Punishment in Sports

July 26, 2014
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Ray Rice will return to the field on September 21, after serving a two game suspension. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

How do our games respond to domestic violence? This week, the NFL suspended Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice for two games while the Minnesota Twins canceled the ceremony to honor former second baseman Chuck Knoblauch. Bill Littlefield weighs in.

Drama And Heroics At Wiffle Ball All-Star Game

July 26, 2014
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The Golden Stick Wiffle League All-Star series featured the best wiffle ball players from around the world — or at least the Northeast. Bill Littlefield was there to witness the fluttering pitches, the home run trots and the high hopes for the sport’s future.

To Golf, Or Not To Golf?

July 23, 2014
Rory McIlroy edged out Sergio García and Rickie Fowler for the Open Championship title. (Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy’s recent triumph at the British Open has some golf enthusiasts hoping for a rise in the game’s popularity. That’s caused Bill Littlefield to remember his own youthful attempts to play golf.

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.

Feedback From OAG Listeners

July 19, 2014
Zippy Chippy wishes you a happy New Year. (Bill Littlefield/Only A Game)

Only A Game listeners have written in to discuss the use of hands in soccer, skipping stones, and horses who lose. Bill Littlefield responds.

Revisiting Ali, Frazier And Foreman In Richard Hoffer’s ‘Bouts of Mania’

July 19, 2014
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Richard Hoffer’s ‘Bouts of Mania’ chronicles the “Golden Age” of heavyweight boxing as well as the era’s three main figures: Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman. Hoffer joins Bill Littlefield.

Taking In The Tour De France (In England)

July 16, 2014
JI Cheng of China and Giant -Shimano leads the peloton during the third stage of the 2014 Tour de France, a 155km stage between Cambridge and London, on July 7, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

This year the Tour de France began in the United Kingdom, which is why Bill Littlefield, who’d gone to London for a break from sports, came to witness the spectacle.

Cristiano Ronaldo And The Celebration Of Self

July 12, 2014
Ronaldo or wax Rondaldo? It's hard to tell determine which is the real deal. (Andres Kudacki/AP)

Yet another wax sculpture of Cristiano Ronaldo was unveiled in 2013. This event provoked Bill Littlefield to think about how we praise famous men and the extent to which some of them find it necessary to praise themselves.

‘The Chalmers Race’ Remembers Controversial 1910 Batting Title

June 28, 2014
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In 1910, when Hugh Chalmers offered one of his sought-after cars to the winner of the 1910 batting title, a battle ensued between Ty Cobb and Napoleon Lajoie. Rick Huhn’s ‘The Chalmers Race’ captures the controversial events surrounding that contest. Huhn joined Bill Littlefield.

An Open Letter To Soccer-Hating Sports Writers

June 28, 2014
Clint Dempsey's goal 30 seconds into the United States' match against Ghana was the fifth-fastest in World Cup history. The U.S. won 2-1.(Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Every four years they appear: columns by sports writers explaining whey they hate soccer. Bill Littlefield has a tip for those scribes: take a vacation during the World Cup.

We Get It, Sports Writers: You Don’t Like Soccer

June 25, 2014
Fans turned out in force at Chicago's Grant Park to watch the U.S. battle Portugal. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

As the World Cup presses on, one type of sports column has dependably reappeared again this summer, a column which Bill Littlefield finds unnecessary.

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.

Valentine Riles Up MLB With Documentary

July 12, 2012

Red Sox Manager Bobby Valentine produced the documentary, which alleges that the MLB used coercion to recruit players as young as 16.

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