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

‘No No’ Chronicles Odd No-Hitter — And A Fascinating Man

September 20, 2014
Dock Ellis reached the All-Star game in 1971 -- the same year the Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series (AP Photo)

Dock Ellis famously pitched a no-hitter after he dropped LSD. But, as filmmaker Jeffrey Radice shows in his new documentary, there was much more to the story of the former Pirates All-Star. Radice and Tom Reich — Ellis’ longtime agent — join Bill Littlefield.

Littlefield: To Curb Off-Field Violence, Make NFL Players Pay

September 17, 2014

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced the appointments of several influential women as part of the league’s reaction to its domestic violence scandal. Only A Game’s Bill Littlefield offers a more robust response.

How The NFL Became King: A Look Back At The League’s Evolution

September 13, 2014
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In his new book “NFL Football: A History Of America’s New National Pastime,” Richard Crepeau examines a time when the league was not always front and center in popular cultures. He joins Bill Littlefield to explore the game’s evolution.

The NFL, Ray Rice And Roger Goodell

September 13, 2014
Ray Rice (left) and Roger Goodell (right). (Handout/Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Bill Littlefield has this week’s developments in the controversy surrounding NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice case.

NFL Brass Channels SNL In Ray Rice Aftermath

September 10, 2014
Roger Goodell had initially suspended Ray Rice for two games, but has since extended the suspension indefinitely. (Elsa/Getty Images)

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell claims he did not see the tape of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice striking his then-fiance in an elevator before he handed down a two-game suspension. Count Bill Littlefield among the skeptics.

‘Club Soccer 101′ Highlights Sports’ Best Stories

September 06, 2014
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Need an introduction to soccer beyond MLS? Luke Dempsey’s got you covered with ‘Club Soccer 101: The Essential Guide to the Stars, Stats, and Stories of 101 of the Greatest Teams in the World.’ Dempsey spoke with Bill Littlefield.

Domestic Violence: A Problem In The NFL — And Beyond

September 03, 2014
Ray McDonald was recently arrested on domestic violence allegations, days after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to NFL teams detailing harsher punishments for domestic abuse. (NFL via Getty Images)

On Sunday morning, just days after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced the league’s new domestic violence policy, Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers was arrested on domestic violence charges. Bill Littlefield finds himself considering the fallout within and beyond the NFL.

Jermaine Jones And The Bizarre Rules Of MLS

August 30, 2014
US midfielder Jermaine Jones warms up during a training session at the Pernambuco Arena in Recife on June 25, 2014 on the eve of the Group G football match between USA and Germany in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. (Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images)

In a highly-criticized move, a blind draw determined whether the U.S. national team’s Jermaine Jones ended up with the Chicago Fire or the New England Revolution. Bill Littlefield looks at the oddities of the MLS “designated player” rule.

Retirement Should Be ‘Brought Up’ After Welker’s Latest Concussion

August 27, 2014
Wes Welker wore a bigger helmet during Super Bowl XLVIII against the Seahawks after suffering a two concussions in 22 days. Now, after yet another concussion in the preseason, some are wondering if he should consider retirement. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

How many concussions is too many? Bill Littlefield hopes that Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker is asking himself that question.

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.

‘If They Don’t Win It’s A Shame:’ What’s Happened To Youth Baseball?

August 20, 2014
ESPN has broadcast the Little League World Series since 1987. (Matt Slocum/AP)

With the Little League World Series championship this Sunday, Bill Littlefield reflects on “America’s Pastime,” which each year seems to become less and less of a pastime for young ballplayers.

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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