The Catcher Was A Spy

The Catcher Was A Spy

The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg

Book - 1994
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Moe Berg is the only major-league baseball player whose baseball card is on display at the headquarters of the CIA. For Berg was much more than a third-string catcher who played on several major league teams between 1923 and 1939. Educated at Princeton and the Sorbonne, he as reputed to speak a dozen languages (although it was also said he couldn't hit in any of them) and went on to become an OSS spy in Europe during World War II.

As Nicholas Dawidoff follows Berg from his claustrophobic childhood through his glamorous (though equivocal) careers in sports and espionage and into the long, nomadic years during which he lived on the hospitality of such scattered acquaintances as Joe DiMaggio and Albert Einstein, he succeeds not only in establishing where Berg went, but who he was beneath his layers of carefully constructed cover. As engrossing as a novel by John le Carr#65533;, The Catcher Was a Spy is a triumphant work of historical and psychological detection.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, [1994]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©1994
ISBN: 9780679762898
Branch Call Number: 940.548673 D322
Characteristics: viii, 453 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 22 cm
Alternative Title: Mysterious life of Moe Berg


From Library Staff

A portrait of Moe Berg describes the colorful, vagabond life of the baseball player and spy, detailing his wartime exploits as an OSS operative gathering information on Hitler's atomic bomb project.

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Apr 01, 2013

A baseball player who didn't want to play. An intelligence officer working for the government, who became even more important in his own mind. And a man who never quite fit in with close friends (or wanted to), preferring a limited relationship he could control. This is Moe Berg.
A precocious childe gifted by innate intellectual ability , Moe demanded to start school at 3 and 1/2 years old, and went and worked diligently to build a reputation as a scholar. Berg, born into a Jewish family, was more concerned about assimilating with his peer group and being accepted as a model American boy.
On to Princeton, again excelling at his studies and becoming the best player on the university's baseball team. He became a member of the Brooklyn Robins upon graduation, getting $5000 bonus for signing. He spent the off season studying in France, Switzerland and Italy. And in March 1926, he decided to forgo spring training along with the first two months of the season to complete his first year of law school. Today that might raise few eyebrows but was unheard of back then.
He came back to baseball which for almost 20 years paid him well enough and allowed him plentiful time to explore his many other interests, including serving his country as a spy during WWII focusing on the Axis' development of atomic weapons.
If this story hasn't peeked your interest about Moe Berg, I'll be very surprised. Follow him through his life recreated from notebooks and letters that Moe himself kept. This is one of the most unusual life stories you'll ever read. Nicholas Dawidoff, the author probes deeply into the man and the myth. I found myself drawn to each successive chapter as fascinatedly peeled away layer after layer about this most unusual man.
Not perfect by a long shot, hard to befriend and develop any but the most superficial personal connections, Berg nonetheless lives a life that if not for the evidence seemed too fantastic to be true. A one of a kind biography!

mikeyppl Feb 15, 2012

What a interesting character Moe Berg was. This is a really fun book to read.


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