Thursday, September 12, 2019

'Big Guy' Needs a Little Boost

Popular sports figure battling health challenges, medical bills

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

The Big Guy is looking for a little help from his friends.

Tim Maher, one of the best known and well-liked Southwest
No stranger to a microphone, Tim Maher is a familiar face and voice.
Side sports figures of the last 50 years, is the subject of a public benefit set for 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6 at 115 Bourbon Street, 3359 W. 115th St., Merrionette Park.

Maher, 66, is a onetime prep football star and in later years a radio and TV sports broadcaster known as The Big Guy. He has been a tireless promoter of 16-inch softball and Chicago Catholic League sports, has gone public with his struggles with his health.

“I lost my left leg below the knee five years ago; and earlier this summer, I lost my big toe on right leg--with the right side of my foot now black, so off it will come,” Maher posted on social media several months back. “I live on very little a month: Social Security with no job and no other income.”

The Oct. 6 fundraiser, billed as Da Bears and Da Big Guy, will feature a “watch” party for the Chicago Bears versus Oakland Raiders game, broadcast live from Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England.

Admission is $30 per person and includes an all-you-can-eat buffet, as well as beer and wine.

“You can’t beat that ticket price, when you consider what you’re getting,” Maher said. “I’m not looking to get rich on this, believe me. If I walk away with two or maybe three thousand bucks, I’ll be happy.”

The event will include a number of sports-related raffle prizes, such as four tickets (with a parking pass) to the Nov 16 Notre Dame vs. Navy game at South Bend.

To purchase admission tickets and pool squares, visit Tickets are also available at several noteworthy watering holes in the area, including Lawlor’s two Chicago locations: 6854 W. Archer 3636 W. 111th St; and The Hideout, 4755 W. 137th St., Crestwood, and McGaffer’s Saloon, 7737 W. Roosevelt Road, Forest Park.

Those unable to attend the October event may still use the PayPal link to make a donation.

Those with additional questions about the event are welcome to contact Maher at

“I want to thank everyone who helps me out,” Maher said. “We get knocked down, but we always get back up; but it’s just a bit harder for me this time. I'm on the goal line, fighting best I can.”


Maher is a South Side native who grew up at 5417 S. Racine, across the street from Sherman Park, where as a boy he wore the football uniform of the Visitation Ramblers—butting heads with grid powers across the South and Southwest Sides.

His father, John, was a 1944 St. Rita graduate and football player who joined the Marines and earned a Purple Heart fighting on Okinawa.

At St. Rita, Tim Maher saw highs and lows. In his sophomore year, the Mustangs went an abysmal 0-9 in 1968; but then turned it around to 9-2-1 in 1970—sweeping to three November victories at Soldier Field over tough CCL opponents (Fenwick, Loyola and Leo) to a December Prep Bowl triumph over Lane Tech before a Soldier Field crowd of 65,745.

The feat was unheard of in Chicago’s prep sports history, Maher said. He chronicled the championship season in a book he authored, “3 Yards and a Cloud of Dust,” a 200-plus page book available in paperback for $14.95 at

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