Thursday, March 23, 2006

March 23rd, 1877

Peaches Graham Born

This is one of those stories is that is so bizarre I hesitate to tell it, because it stretches the bounds of plausibility to their breaking point. Nonetheless, here goes: Peaches Graham--that's a nickname, obviously, he was born George Graham--played seven seasons in the Majors between 1902 and 1912 as a catcher. Graham wasn't a great player but he was a decent hitter for the position. Records for Graham are somewhat sketchy after his Major League career, which brings us to the stretching the bounds of plausibility part of this story.

Around the time of Graham's career, a boxer named Billy Maharg began fighting. "Maharg" you'll notice, is "Graham" spelled backwards. Someone with the name "Billy Maharg," maybe the boxer or perhaps Peaches Graham using a bizarre alias, or perhaps someone else entirely, played in a couple of games as a joke in 1912 and 1916. It is also possible, however, that boxer Billy Maharg and Peaches Graham were, in fact, the same person.

This would all be something of an interesting footnote but for the fact that Maharg the boxer was recruited by "Sleepy" Bill Burns to raise money to help fix the 1919 World Series. Whoever Billy Maharg was, he was unofficially banned from the game after the fix was revealed. One would assume that it is possible to track down birth and death certificates and such (Maharg was both born and died later than Peaches Graham) but for the moment all I can do is present the story of the dual identities--and mystery--of Peaches Graham and Billy Maharg.

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