Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Brainiest Guy in Baseball

Morris “Moe” Berg, a major league baseball player and a spy, could speak nearly a dozen languages. Though educated at Princeton, the Sorbonne, and Columbia and holding a law degree, it was baseball that gave him the most happiness. When the owner of the Washington Senators was told that catcher Berg could speak seven languages, he replied, “Yeah. I know, and he can’t hit in any of them.” Unfortunately, Berg suffered a knee injury and spent the latter part of his career as a bench warmer. After two years as a Red Sox coach, Berg left baseball on the same day his father died. His father always regarded his son’s choice of career as a waste of fine intellect. Berg’s love of the game caused continual contention between the two men. Berg left baseball to pursue diplomacy and espionage during World War II. He was assigned to the Secret Intelligence branch of the Office of Strategic Services, precursor to the CIA. It has come to light in recent years of the extent of Berg’s work in determining Germany’s atomic bomb capability. The mysterious Moe Berg brought fascination to many and lived the original life that most desire but never attain.

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