Robert Emmett “Butch” McGuire

Unlike any other “Friend of Softball” winner before him, Butch McGuire actually was a friendly acquaintance of Richard J Daley. One of his customers described the social and gregarious McGuire in a 1986 Tribune magazine profile saying, “Butch is 30% businessman and 70% humanitarian.” Back in 1962, McGuire’s prototypical singles bar-considered to be the first singles bar in America-transformed the saloon experience and how people, especially women, related to it. In creating that first singles bar, McGuire in effect created the template for the sports bar phenomenon that would come a few years later, as both rely on the same demographics that Butch instinctively tapped into in the early ’60’s. McGuire soon came to have a major impact on several Chicago scenes besides the social scene, including politics, charity and 16″ softball-the game as gritty and authentic as the taverns themselves.