WBUR Staff

Charlie Pierce

Analyst, Only A Game, WBUR

Charles P. Pierce was born December 28, 1953 in Worcester, Massachusetts. Six months earlier, his mother hid in the basement as a massive tornado leveled his future hometown of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. The effect of prenatal imprinting is still being debated in medical circles, but a connection does not seem implausible.

He is a 1975 graduate of Marquette University, where he majored in journalism and brewery tours. He was delighted to combine his vocation and his avocation once again when he returned to Milwaukee to cover the trial of Jeffrey Dahmer.

He attended graduate school at Boston College for two days. He is a former forest ranger for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and still ponders the question of what possesses people to go into the woods and throw disposable diapers up into trees.

He began his journalism career writing bowling agate for the Milwaukee papers and remains justly proud of his ability to spell multi-syllabic, vowel-free Eastern European names. He has written for the alternative press, including Worcester Magazine and the Boston Phoenix and was a sports columnist for the Boston Herald. He was a feature writer and columnist for the late, lamented sports daily, The National. He has been a writer-at-large for a men’s fashion magazine, and his work has appeared in the Boston Globe, the New York Times Magazine, the LA Times Magazine and the Chicago Tribune, among others. He appears weekly on NPR’s sports program Only A Game, is a regular panelist on NPR’s game show, Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me, and is a frequent host on ESPN Radio. Since July 1997 he has been a writer at large at Esquire, covering everything from John McCain to the Hubble telescope, with more than a few shooting stars thrown in between. In April 2002, he joined the staff of the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine.

Charles Pierce is the recipient of numerous professional awards and honors. On several occasions, he was named a finalist for the Associated Press Sports Editor’s award for best column writing, and it has been suggested that if only he would wear a tie, they might have let him win. He was a 1996 National Magazine Award finalist for his piece on Alzheimer’s disease, “In the Country of My Disease,” and has expanded the piece into a book, “Hard to Forget: An Alzheimer’s Story” for Random House. Charlie Pierce has appeared in Best American Sports Writing more times than any other writer, and his work has been anthologized in “Sports Guy: In Search of Corkball, Warroad Hockey, Hooters Golf, Tiger Woods, and the Big, Big Game.” He was awarded third place in the PBWAA Dan S. Blumenthal Memorial Writing Contest. When he won Phone Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek sent him a plaque.

Charles Pierce lives in metro Boston with his three children, a malfunctioning Toro lawnmower and his extremely long-suffering wife.

Recent stories

Charlie Pierce: The Week In Sports

June 04, 2016

One game into the 2016 NBA Finals, is it fair to say LeBron and the Cavs are big underdogs? And why does forward Anderson Varejão have better odds than anyone else of getting a championship ring? Only A Game analyst Charlie Pierce and Bill talk NBA playoffs and more.

Charlie Pierce: The Week In Sports

May 28, 2016

Baylor University has terminated head football coach Art Briles and demoted president Ken Starr. Bill and Only A Game analyst Charlie Pierce consider the impact this could have on how universities and football programs handle sexual assault.

Charlie Pierce: The Week In Sports

May 14, 2016

Bill and Only A Game analyst Charlie Pierce tackle the NBA’s unanimous decision to name Steph Curry MVP, Max Scherzer’s 20-strikeout game and the San Jose Sharks’ postseason run. Plus, how did a fisherman’s tragic mistake cost him a world record?

Charlie Pierce: The Week In Sports

May 07, 2016

Only A Game analyst Charlie Pierce breaks down the wild NBA playoff game between the Thunder and the Spurs. Bill and Charlie also marvel at Jaromir Jagr’s ability to turn back time and Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s Cinco De Mayo celebration. Plus, will the Cavaliers’ three-point record last until June?

Charlie Pierce: The Week In Sports

April 30, 2016
Team USA's Olympic uniforms were unveiled this week. Charlie thinks they should probably lose the striped belt. (Bryan Bedder/NBC)

Bill and Only A Game analyst Charlie Pierce weigh in on the Raiders’ Vegas dreams, Ted Cruz’s latest gaffe and Andrew Luck’s book club. Plus, what’s to make of Team USA’s newly unveiled Olympic uniforms?

Charlie Pierce: The Week In Sports

April 23, 2016
Former Syracuse basketball star Pearl Washington (left) passed away this week at the age of 52. Charlie remembers him as a legend from "the days when legends didn't have logos." (Ray Stubblebine/AP)

After dropping a game to the Rockets, is it time for Golden State to hit the panic button? Only A Game analyst Charlie Pierce weighs in. Bill and Charlie also review the NHL’s swift suspension of Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw and ESPN’s firing of Curt Schilling. Plus, Charlie shares memories of former Syracuse basketball star Pearl Washington.

Charlie Pierce: The Week In Sports

April 16, 2016
Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors had plenty to celebrate Wednesday after they won an NBA-record 73 games. Did Charlie stay up to watch the historic win? (Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The Golden State Warriors made history Wednesday night when they won their 73rd game. Did Only A Game analyst Charlie Pierce stay up to watch? Bill and Charlie also talk NBA playoff odds and Jordan Spieth’s historic Masters collapse. Plus, is it too early to hop aboard the Cubs’ bandwagon?

Charlie Pierce: The Week In Sports

April 09, 2016
Newly elected FIFA president Gianni Infantino was implicated in the Panama Papers. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

Is Only A Game analyst Charlie Pierce surprised to learn that members of FIFA are named in the Panama Papers? Not quite. Charlie joins Karen Given to discuss that and more from the week’s sports news.

Charlie Pierce: The Week In Sports

April 02, 2016
Once again, this year's Final Four features no teams from anywhere west of Oklahoma. What's to blame? (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

It’s Final Four weekend! For the eighth year in a row, no men’s team from anywhere west of Oklahoma will be competing. Only A Game analyst Charlie Pierce weighs in. Bill and Charlie also break down the NCAA’s latest mishap and the Golden State Warriors’ April Fool’s Day prank.

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