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 Billy Maharg

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Billy Maharg

  • Birth 19 Mar 1881 Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Death 20 Nov 1953 Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Burial Cheltenham, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Memorial ID 13775075

Major League Baseball Player. His real name was Graham, or Maharg spelled backwards. He played in just two games, including one of the most unusual in big-league history. He is best known, however, for being one of the conspirators to fix the 1919 World Series. He fought as a middleweight boxer around Philadelphia, but got a chance of a lifetime to play in the major leagues. On May 15, 1912 in the fourth inning at New York, Detroit Tigers star Ty Cobb leaped into the stands and attacked a fan who he claimed was insulting him. The man was Claude Lueker, a pressman by trade who had lost one hand and most of the other while working for a morning newspaper. American League president Ban Johnson suspended Cobb indefinitely. That's when the other Tigers players wired Johnson they would go out on strike in Philadelphia if Cobb wasn't allowed to play. The Tigers, not wanting the possibility of the franchise's forfeiture if they didn't play, hired a group of players from St. Joseph's College, reactivated a couple of scouts, 42-year-old first baseman Joe Sugden and 48-year-old catcher Deacon McGuire, for the May 18 contest. They also signed Maharg, an outfielder who was hitless in one at-bat. The A's won the mismatch 24-2. Maharg got into another game in 1916 with the Phillies and was 0 for 1. It was September 23, 1919, eight days before the opening of the World Series, when he and former pitcher Sleepy Bill Burns first approached gambler Arnold Rothstein at Jamaica Race Track that eight Chicago White Sox players were willing to throw the Series to the Cincinnati Reds. Other gamblers soon entered the picture, and the players, Maharg and Burns suffered multiple double-crosses. In September 1920, during the closing days of a tight American League pennant race, a Philadelphia reporter, Jimmy Isaminger, looked up the disgruntled Maharg, who gave him the full details of the plot. Later, he testified against the players, but a Chicago jury found them all not guilty and celebrated with the players afterward. All eight were barred for life by new commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis.

Bio by: Ron Coons





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Ron Coons
  • Added: 29 Mar 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 13775075
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Billy Maharg (19 Mar 1881–20 Nov 1953), Find A Grave Memorial no. 13775075, citing Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheltenham, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .