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

9-73: The 1972-73 Sixers Were ‘Perfectly Awful’

November 22, 2014
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This year, the Philadelphia 76ers are off to an 0-11 start. They still have a long way to go, though, to lose as many games as the ’72-’73 76ers. That team, Charley Rosen writes, was “perfectly awful.” Rosen joins Bill Littlefield to discuss his new book about Philadelphia’s dreadful season.

Without Losers, There’d Be No Winners

November 19, 2014
The Philadelphia 76ers are unfortunate squad whose season was basically over before it had begun. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

A common expression uttered after an exciting, well-contested game is “somebody had to lose.” Bill Littlefield pays homage to some unfortunate squads for whom losing has become an all-too-familiar habit.

Music On Only A Game

November 15, 2014
Only A Game Music

Stop the presses! In a revelation sure to confirm his status as a 30-year NPR veteran, Bill Littlefield admits in this week’s music blog that he doesn’t know what twerking is.

West Point’s Max Lenox: Point Guard, Captain, Adopted Son

November 15, 2014
(Danny Wild/danny-wild.com)

Max Lenox didn’t take the expected path to becoming captain of Army’s basketball team. Bill speaks with Sports Illustrated’s S.L. Price, who profiled the point guard for this week’s magazine, and to the two men who adopted Lenox.

Making A Case For Shorter Seasons

November 15, 2014
Remember how much fun the Kansas City Royals' playoff run was? Now imagine if the playoffs started even earlier. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

In sports, perhaps less is more? Bill Littlefield argues for the virtues of shortening our sports seasons.

Nearing Retirement, Landon Donovan Puts Soccer In Perspective

November 12, 2014

Whenever a future Hall of Fame player is retiring, people pay attention. Bill Littlefield has been playing close attention to Landon Donovan’s comments recently, and he likes what he’s hearing.

Music On Only A Game

November 08, 2014
Only A Game Music

An entry from Elvis Presley features prominently in Bill Littlefield’s latest addition to the Only A Game music blog. Unlike one song on this week’s show, Bill’s blog is most certainly not “redolent of idiocy.”

For Five Decades, Jim Boeheim Has Been ‘Bleeding Orange’

November 08, 2014
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Jim Boeheim, head coach at Syracuse since 1976, is the longest-tenured active coach in men’s college basketball. He joins Bill Littlefield to discuss his new book: “Bleeding Orange.”

Futures of Peterson, Rice And Goodell Uncertain

November 08, 2014
Adrian Peterson (right) remains on the reserve/commissioner exempt list and awaits further NFL review of his playing status following a plea deal on Nov. 4. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Now that Ray Rice’s suspension appeal is underway and Adrian Peterson has reached a plea deal, the NFL’s domestic abuse scandals — and their handling by Commissioner Roger Goodell — return to the headlines. Bill Littlefield offers his take on the latest developments.

London Calling, Will Tony Romo Answer?

November 05, 2014
After suffering a back injury on Oct. 27, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has not practiced or played. His status for Sunday's game in London has yet to be announced. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Despite two fractured bones in his back, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has traveled to London with the hope of playing on Sunday. Bill Littlefield does not share Romo’s, or the NFL’s, optimistic outlook.

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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