Mayor Dever and Babe Ruth’s Bat

I wrote my doctoral dissertation about William E. Dever.  He was the Mayor of Chicago between 1923 and 1927, and was famous in his time for his war against Prohibition-flouting gangsters.  The dissertation later served as the basis for my book, The Mayor Who Cleaned Up Chicago.

Mayor Dever

Mayor Dever

Dever is mostly forgotten now—his clean-up didn’t last.  I chose him for a subject because his story was unusual.  It also helped that the research materials I needed were available at the Chicago Historical Society.  Working on weekends, I spent three years doing the initial dissertation research, and another year  converting the materials into a book.

I thought that I knew everything there was to know about William E. Dever.  But only after the book was published did I learn that Dever’s granddaughter was still alive.  She was a delightful lady who told me stories about Dever that I’d never heard—for instance, when he was starting out as a lawyer, one of his clients was a Chinese tong.

Except for a presentation I did at the Edgewater Historical Society, I haven’t thought much about Dever in recent years.  Then, this past summer, I ran across a story about a newly-discovered piece of sports memorabilia, a baseball bat autographed by Babe Ruth.

The bat is inscribed “To My Friend William Dever, From ‘Babe’ Ruth–July 11th, 1925.”  According to the story, the bat was given to Edna Fry, who worked at City Hall during the Dever Administration.  Her family was now offering it at auction.

The Bat

The Bat

I’ve recently received several queries about whether Mayor Dever ever received a bat from the Babe, or what Edna Fry’s job was at City Hall, or how the bat came into her possession.  I honestly don’t know anything about the matter.  Perhaps one of you can provide some information.

As for me, I already have enough Dever memorabilia, so I’m not entering the bidding.

—30—

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4 Responses to “Mayor Dever and Babe Ruth’s Bat”


  1. 1 Garry December 17, 2015 at 11:49 am

    At least he managed to get one of the city’s crib’s named after him.

  2. 4 benson December 17, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Until somebody loses a finger…or more. LOL


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