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Only a Game

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Boston, MA





An award-winning weekly sports magazine hosted by veteran NPR commentator Bill Littlefield, Only A Game is radio for the serious sports fan and the steadfast sports avoider. Produced by WBUR in Boston, Only A Game puts sports in perspective with intelligent analysis, insightful interviews and a keen sense humor.




Boston, MA 02215 617-353-1860


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!

Duration: 00:49:43

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!

Duration: 00:50:13

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.

Duration: 00:50:31

Music Show: Devo And Chi Chi, Barry Zito's Guitar, Finding 'Helena'

Devo's first full-length album featured an image of Hall of Fame golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez on the cover ... kind of. This week on Only A Game, we find out how and why. Also, Barry Zito's journey from Cy Young-winning pitcher to Billboard Top 100 country artist. And, the search for the tennis champion behind a Swedish pop singer's hit single. Join us!

Duration: 00:50:21

Archenemies: Harrison V. Doubt, Walton V. Pain, Hardy V. Sexism

Summer is a time for superhero blockbusters. This week on Only A Game, we have stories about athletes taking on their archenemies. Our heroes: American hurdler Kendra Harrison battles self-doubt. Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton struggles against chronic back pain. And boxer Heather Hardy fights for gender equality. Join us!

Duration: 00:49:04

Latest Show: Race Across America, Beep Baseball, Snowkiting

As long as she's been an athlete, Trish Karter has faced adversity. This week on Only A Game, the 60-year-old athlete tells the story of a discouraging high school coach, a traumatic brain injury and the Race Across America. Plus, a baseball player finds his way back to the field after losing his vision. And one thrill-seeker takes on his lifelong obsession with Mount St. Helens using a snowkite. Join us!

Duration: 00:50:13

Latest Show: Jason Collins, George Washington, Gut Bacteria

In 2013, Jason Collins became the first openly gay male athlete in any of the the U.S.'s four major sports leagues. This week on Only A Game, Collins tells his story. Also, one of George Washington's descendants tries to get closer to his famous ancestor — through dancing, bowling and other sports. And a former DI basketball player brings sports and science together — by studying gut bacteria. Join us!

Duration: 00:50:30

Summer Vacations: White Dragon Horse, Mini Golf, Remembering Johnny

This week on Only A Game — we're telling stories of summer vacations. We follow one cyclist's cross-country search for humanity on the White Dragon Horse. Plus, we meet a Cape Cod couple who won't sell their mini golf course — not even for a million bucks. And, we hear the story of a father who's spreading his son's ashes at all 30 MLB ballparks. Join us!

Duration: 00:50:35

Latest Show: Rio's Olympic Legacy, Ichiro's Milestone, Tup Holmes

Last summer, all eyes were on Rio as the world's best athletes competed at the 2016 Olympics. This week on Only A Game, a look at Rio's legacy of displacement, despair — and resistance in Vila Autódromo. Also, the story of one baseball superfan's 18-month quest to witness Ichiro Suzuki's 3,000th career hit. And, Alfred "Tup" Holmes' fight to desegregate golf in Atlanta in the 1950s. Join us!

Duration: 00:49:50

Latest Show: Jim Abbott, Yale's Worst Rower, Rubik's Cube History

Jim Abbott was a pitcher in the Major Leagues for a decade. He was also born without a right hand. This week on Only A Game, Abbott tells the story of a teacher who taught him an important lesson. Also, the self-proclaimed worst oarsman in Yale history finds an unlikely rowing partner in Italy. And the rise, fall and rise of the Rubik's Cube. Join us!

Duration: 00:48:38

Latest Show: Baseball Diplomacy, Tom Meschery, Williams-DiMaggio Swap?

Randy Kaplan has collected 350 baseballs signed by world leaders. This week on Only A Game, Kaplan talks about popes, presidents and Vladimir Putin. Plus, a descendant of Leo Tolstoy talks about his decade in the NBA — and poetry. And the story of a Ted Williams-Joe DiMaggio trade that almost happened...maybe. Join us!

Duration: 00:49:12

Latest Show: Life After BALCO, The 1st Tour De France, Golf In Herat

BALCO founder Victor Conte spent four months in prison after a federal raid of his offices in 2003. This week on Only A Game, Conte opens up about peddling steroids — and switching sides in the fight against doping. Plus, a tale of violence and deception at the first Tour de France. And the golf shot that changed the life of an Afghan woman. Join us!

Duration: 00:47:25

Latest Show: Mack's Legacy, Energetic Wrestlers, Backyard Baseball

Mack Brady was just 8 years old when he died of sepsis. This week on Only A Game, how Mack's family and friends embraced joy — and soccer. Plus, the Lefever boys were destroying their home, until their mother put a wrestling mat in the basement. And how Backyard Baseball's Pablo Sanchez became an unlikely hero — and one of the greatest video game characters of all time.

Duration: 00:48:23

Latest Show: #outruncancer, Laila Vs. Muhammad Ali, Blind Broadcaster

Most people know about Muhammad Ali's most famous fights. But this week on Only A Game, a look back at the boxer's toughest bouts — against his youngest daughter, Laila. Also, two childhood friends had fallen out of touch, until one of them was diagnosed with breast cancer. Now, they both want to #outruncancer. And broadcaster Ed Lucas explains how baseball took his sight — but gave him a life. Join us!

Duration: 00:49:09

Latest Show: MLB During WWII, Man O' War, And The SH*T

Major League Baseball carried on during WWII, but talent was in short supply. This week on Only A Game, the story of the 1945 Washington Senators and their one-legged player-coach. Plus, the life of Man o' War — a horse that some say 'transcended its species.' And a tale of a teenaged boy, his famous neighbor and the Saunders Hoop Invitational Tournament. Join us!

Duration: 00:47:54

Latest Show: Revisiting Sprewell, Lacrosse Brothers, Chargers' Move

The Golden State Warriors are now known for their team chemistry. Two decades ago, the franchise had a very different image. This week on Only A Game, we explore the link between the Sprewell-Carlesimo incident and the team's current success. Also, four brothers from the Onondaga Reservation make it pro in lacrosse. Plus, the story of two San Diego natives affected by the Chargers' move to LA. Join us!

Duration: 00:49:01

Latest Show: Dr. Baseball, Refugee Camp Soccer, Congressional Ballgame

You've heard of multitasking — but have you heard of the ballplayer who went to medical school? This week on Only A Game, Dr. Gail Hopkins and his wife, Caroline, explain how they balanced it all. Plus, we look at the not-so-silly reason behind the supremely silly Congressional Baseball Game. And, the tale of a refugee camp, soccer ball and children's book. Join us!

Duration: 00:48:11

Latest Show: Kareem And Coach Wooden, Elam Ending, Rick Ankiel

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and John Wooden couldn't have appeared less alike on the surface. This week on Only A Game, how the two men forged a 50-year friendship. Also, Mensa member/MLB groundskeeper Nick Elam is trying to revolutionize the rules of basketball to make the ends of games more exciting. And former MLB pitcher Rick Ankiel opens up about the game that led to the end of his pitching career — and a second baseball dream. Join us!

Duration: 00:48:28

Latest Show: Soccer In A Kenyan Slum, Craig Hodges, Pro Athlete/Mom

Thousands of Kenyan children are benefiting from a soccer league founded in one of Nairobi's oldest and largest slums. This week on Only A Game, the story of the Mathare Youth Sports Association. Also, the tale of an NBA champion and activist who says he was blackballed for his political views. Plus, Allison Feaster talks about balancing motherhood and pro basketball. Join us!

Duration: 00:48:33

Latest Show: Golf With Trump, Street Soccer, Football And The First Lady

Three years ago, golf writer James Dodson was invited to play golf with Donald Trump. Rain cut short the outing, but Dodson came away with stories...and a cheeseburger. Plus, a soccer team that's helping the homeless in Sacramento. And, the story of a Boston high school football player who asked the first lady of Massachusetts for a donation — and got much more than he expected.

Duration: 00:48:54

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