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

NCAA Ordered To Pay $46 Million In Fees In O’Bannon Case

July 15, 2015
Ed O'Bannon and 19 others sued the NCAA claiming the organization violated U.S. antitrust laws. This week, a judge ordered the NCAA to dole out $46 million in lawyer fees. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The NCAA has been ordered to pay $46 million in fees in the Ed O’Bannon class-action lawsuit. Twenty people, including O’Bannon, sued the NCAA, claiming the organization violated U.S. antitrust laws. Bill Littlefield is among those applauding the decision.

‘Bulls Before Breakfast’ Recaps 12 Years — And Counting — Of Running With The Bulls

July 11, 2015
Bulls Before Breakfast (2)

Peter Milligan has run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, for the last 12 years. In his new book “Bulls Before Breakfast,” Milligan explains why he keeps going back year after year.

Jose Fernandez Has Found A Home At Marlins Park

July 11, 2015
Jose Fernandez has been perfect at Marlins Park in Miami. But away from South Beach, the righty has struggled. (Jason Arnold/Getty Images)

Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez has a 12-0 career record at Marlins Park — and a 4-8 record on the road. But as Bill Littlefield writes, those aren’t the most significant numbers in Fernandez’s life.

25 Years After ’90 MLB All-Star Game, Greg And Gregg Olson Reconnect

July 11, 2015
Greg Olson and Gregg Olson have virtually the same name. They played against each other in the 1990 All-Star Game. (Photos by Getty Images/Illustration by Joe Jacobs for WBUR)

Pitcher Gregg Olson reached his first and only All-Star Game in 1990. And so did catcher Greg Olson. They haven’t spoken since. On the 25th anniversary of that game, Bill Littlefield got Greg and Gregg on the phone together to remember the coincidence — and to find out what happens to all those baseball cards that get mailed to the wrong Olson.

At ‘The Magic Green,’ A Quest For A Hole-In-One

July 11, 2015
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There have been 10 holes-in-one this summer at the Nashawtuc Country Club in Concord, Mass. That string of good fortune prompted Bill Littlefield to pick up a golf club for the first time in nearly a half-century in hopes of sinking No. 11.

Commentary: Golf Turns Against Donald Trump

July 08, 2015
Presidential candidate Donald Trump has missed two more shots at making money. After slicing his opinion too far to the right in a comment about Mexicans, ESPN and PGA are the two latest companies to drop Trump's business. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Donald Trump’s recent comments about Latin American immigrants have drawn sharp criticism and prompted both ESPN and the PGA to cancel events at a Trump-owned golf course. Bill Littlefield weighs in.

‘Fanaticus’ Explores Why Sports Fans Get Unruly

July 04, 2015
Sports fans can get out of hand. Overpriced tickets, alcohol, and team success can contribute to rowdy, sometimes unruly fans. (Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images)

Put a group of people together. Make them overpay for tickets. Add booze. Then give them teams to root for. The result can be a disorderly collection of people — also known as fans. In her new book “Fanaticus,” ESPN producer Justine Gubar explores the phenomenon of fandom around the world.

Commentary: Why Jose Canseco Really Regrets ‘Juiced’

July 04, 2015
Athletics

Ten years ago, Jose Canseco published “Juiced,” the tell-all book in which he admitted his own steroid use and implicated others. This week Canseco told Sports Illustrated that he regrets the book. Bill Littlefield offers a list of other things Canseco might regret.

Commentary: La Liga Appeals To FIFA — On Its Own Terms

July 01, 2015
Picture of the World Cup trophy taken du

Spain’s top soccer league, La Liga, filed an appeal to FIFA regarding the timing of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The competition is set to take place in November and December instead of during the summer, as is custom. Bill Littlefield weighs in on the situation.

‘Great Men Die Twice’ Revisits The Writing Of Mark Kram

June 27, 2015
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Mark Kram was a legendary sports writer for Sports Illustrated in the 1960s and ’70s. His exit from S.I. caused problems for his son Mark Kram, Jr., who had the name first and also became a sports writer. Kram, Jr. edited the new collection of his father’s work titled “Great Men Die Twice” and joins Bill Littlefield.

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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