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Only a Game


An award-winning weekly sports magazine hosted by veteran NPR commentator Bill Littlefield.

An award-winning weekly sports magazine hosted by veteran NPR commentator Bill Littlefield.
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Boston, MA





An award-winning weekly sports magazine hosted by veteran NPR commentator Bill Littlefield.




Boston, MA 02215 617-353-1860


Latest Show: The Life Of Gene Mingo

Gene Mingo was a halfback, kick returner and the NFL's first black field goal kicker. He's one of the few players in pro football history to have scored six different ways. But Mingo's story goes beyond his success on the football field and his Hall of Fame bid. Mingo faced racism, a lack of education and drug addiction. He nearly killed his own wife. This week on Only A Game, Gene Mingo's story.


Latest Show: Fritz Pollard, Tongan Olympian, Running And Mental Health

Fritz Pollard is credited with being the first African-American to play quarterback and coach in the pros. This week on Only A Game, the life of a football trailblazer. Also, the shirtless Tongan from the Rio Olympics who is now trying to qualify for the 2018 Winter Games. And the story of a runner with an eating disorder who learned she needed to slow down before she could speed back up. Join us!


Latest Show: Baltimore And The Colts, Endurance Cycling, Bernard King's Time In Hollywood

For 30 years, the NFL's Colts called Baltimore home. This week on Only A Game, the story of the special connection between the franchise and the city. Plus, the tolls — both physical and emotional — of a life in non-stop, self-supported, ultra endurance bicycle racing. And, NBA Hall of Famer Bernard King shares stories from his summer on the set of a Hollywood film. Join us!


Latest: The Equipment Show

This week on Only A Game, we're talking about stuff. Sports stuff. Stories about the sports bra, a bow, a cappuccino machine and other equipment having to do with sports — or, at least, equipment used by athletes.


Latest Show: The Gift Of Hockey, Althea Gibson, World Bicycle Relief

Paul Stewart played in the NHL and officiated over 1,000 games. This week on Only A Game, the Christmas gift from his father that made it all possible. Plus, you may know Althea Gibson as the woman who integrated tennis, but her legacy extends to the sport of golf, too. And World Bicycle Relief has distributed bicycles to 145,000 students in developing countries, but what does that have to do with Susan B. Anthony? Join us!


Latest Show: History Of The Forward Pass

In 1905, college football faced a crisis. Injuries were piling up, and games were, frankly, boring. The forward pass helped solve both problems. This week on Only A Game, we chronicle the roles of Harvard Stadium and Teddy Roosevelt in making the forward pass legal, quarterbacks Benny Friedman and Sammy Baugh who brought it to prominence and the moments that immortalized the play. Join us!


Latest Show: The Players' League, Betty Robinson, 'Great Halifax Explosion'

Baseball's reserve clause held until 1975, but players came close to abolishing it once 1890. This week on Only A Game, a retired contractor unearths documents left behind from the Players' League. Plus, the Great Halifax Explosion of 1917 indirectly led to the creation of the most successful college hockey program in U.S. history. And, Betty Robinson, the Olympic sprinter who survived a plane crash and came back to win her second gold medal. Join us!


Latest Show: Ryder Cup History, Photos Of 'The Climbers,' Badminton Becky

For decades, the Ryder Cup was monotonous and unpopular. This week on Only A Game, how the Ryder Cup has become one of golf's most emotional and intense events. Plus, a photographer's journey to the Italian Alps to track down a climbing legend. And, how an American living in China went from hating sports to playing badminton six days a week.


Latest Show: Thanksgiving Leftovers

This week on Only A Game, a smorgasbord of "leftover" stories that didn't fit it into past episodes. A world-record paddler takes a detour to meet a rock star. A future boxing champ learns to take a punch on the streets of Brooklyn. An American basketball player bakes bread "with" Van Morrison. NBA journeyman Jason Collins gets some advice from President Obama. And more. Join us!


Latest Show: Syracuse 8, 'Sports Miracles,' 80-Game Losing Streaks

At the height of the civil rights movement, football players at Syracuse University stood up for racial equality. This week on Only A Game, the story of the Syracuse 8. Also, a former toy company executive collects "sports miracles" and shares an almost-miracle of his own. And, learning how to win from a football coach who lost every game he played in high school and college. Join us!


Veterans Day Show: Stories Of Athletes Who Served

Jack Sanford was a high schooler when news of the Pearl Harbor attack broke and many of the country's best athletes joined the service. This week on Only A Game, the story of a lesser-known athlete who answered the call of duty. Plus, a World War I veteran who returned from service and saved 28 people from drowning in the Niagara River. And, a tale of two World War II veterans who met on the Rose Bowl gridiron, on the battlefield in Italy and then again after the war.


Latest Show: Undocumented Runner, Remote Coxswain, Rod Carew's Heart

A year ago, we told the story of Jose Reza, a teenager who fled cartel violence in Mexico. Jose is now a college runner. This week on Only A Game, we have an update on Jose. Also, a blind rower gets the chance to go out on her own, thanks to a new invention. Plus, the story behind a heart transplant between pro athletes. Join us!


Latest Show: Auto Racing Dangers, Fixing Ballgames, NYC Hoops

Brian Redman left school at 16 and found a career in auto racing during the sport's most deadly decade. This week on Only A Game, Redman tells a story about love in the face of injuries, accidents and brushes with death. Plus, the name "Hal Chase" probably doesn't come to mind when you think of baseball's infamous fixers, but maybe it should. And why do New Yorkers play a different style of basketball from everyone else? Join us!


Latest Show: Soccer In North Korea, Former NFL RB Baron Batch, Nika Riots

Professional soccer player Soony Saad grew up in the United States, but the Lebanese-American spent a lot of time traveling the world for his sport. This week on Only A Game, one visit he wasn't so eager to make — to North Korea. Also, a former Pittsburgh Steelers running back pursues art — and tests the city's graffiti laws. And a story of politics, protest and chariot races in the Eastern Roman Empire. Join us!


Latest Show: World Record Canoe Trip, Former Dodgers GM, Cam Newton

Don Starkell and his two sons, Dana and Jeff, set out in a canoe on June 1, 1980, to do something that had never been done before. This week on Only A Game, the dangers they faced while paddling 12,000 miles from Canada to Brazil. Also, Ned Colletti shares stories from his time as Dodgers general manager. And, the cost of NFL quarterback Cam Newton's sexist comments. Join us!


Latest Show: 'Stengelese,' 61-Year-Old Rookie, College Hoops Scandal

Casey Stengel won seven World Series as Yankees manager. But this week on Only A Game, we remember Stengel for the language all his own. Also, the story of a pitcher who decided to go pro — in his 50s. Plus, the FBI as NCAA enforcers, and the story of an Iranian chess champion who found herself at the center of controversy. Join us!


Latest Show: Baseball On Rosh Hashanah, Kaepernick Jersey, Maria Sharapova

In 1934, Hank Greenberg was the star of a Tigers team vying for the pennant. This week on Only A Game, Greenberg's struggle to balance baseball and his Jewish faith during a period of intense anti-Semitism in Detroit. And a Sports Illustrated reporter donned a Colin Kaepernick jersey and headed into the thick of a Buffalo Bills tailgate. Plus, Maria Sharapova had to overcome Lindsay Davenport — and fox poop — to win her first Wimbledon title. Join us!


Latest Show: 'Deacon' White, Forgotten Gold Medal, Lineman In Vietnam

James "Deacon" White recorded professional baseball's first hit and pioneered the catcher position. This week on Only A Game, 96-year-old Betty Jackson helps tell the story of her grandfather. Also, a long-forgotten Olympic gold medal is recovered by a basketball star and her family. And the tale of a former NFL lineman who played a critical role in the bloodiest battle of the Vietnam War. Join us!


Latest Show: Ali And The Court Clerk, Competitive Creative Writing, 'WAR' Song

In 1967, Muhammad Ali was sentenced to five years in prison for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War. This week on Only A Game, the story of the Supreme Court clerk who helped reverse that ruling. Plus, Ohio middle schools compete for glory in competitive creative writing. And a songwriter uses his music to "WAR" against baseball's most complex statistics. Join us!


Latest Show: Vin Baker, 185-Round Fight, First Female MLB Writers

After losing nearly $100 million, former NBA All-Star Vin Baker found a job ... at Starbucks. This week on Only A Game, Baker talks about addiction — and why serving coffee was "the upswing." Also, the story behind a bare-knuckle fight that lasted 185 rounds. And a look back at the fight over women in the locker room, as Claire Smith becomes the first woman to win baseball's top writing award.


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