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The Catcher Was a Spy: Professional baseball player and OSS agent, Moe Berg, engrossed and signed check to his alma mater, Princeton University
Newark, New Jersey: , October 21, 1953 Partly Printed Check Signed ìMorris Berg,î 6.25î x 2.75î. Newark, New Jersey, October 21, 1953. Filled out by Berg, made payable to ìPrinceton University Storeî for $11.10, drawn on the National Newark & Essex Banking Co. Light bank stampings show through from verso. Tiny cancellation holes nick the ìMî of signature. Fine condition. Affixed to a mat with clear picture corners. Double matted with a 4.5î x 6.5î full-length image of 21-year-old rookie infielder Moe Berg of the 1923 Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers) at Ebbets Field, after heís thrown a baseball. He was switched to catcher in 1928. Framed to 13î x 17.5î. Morris ìMoeî Berg was a member of Princeton University's Class of 1923 where he distinguished himself as a student and as an athlete, graduating magna cum laude and earning the title of Captain of the baseball team his senior season. Shortly after graduation, on June 26, 1923, he was signed by the Brooklyn Robins as an amateur free agent and played his first major league game the next day. He was sent to the minor leagues in 1924 and 1925. From 1926-1939, Berg played, almost exclusively as a catcher, for the White Sox, Indians, Senators, and Red Sox; he was released by Boston after the 1939 season. During World War II, Moe Berg was an agent for the Office of Strategic Services, operating in Europe on projects investigating Nazi resistance in Yugoslavia and German rocket engineering. ìGeneral Wild Bill Donovan, the father of the OSS, created a bohemian intelligence operation staffed by a sparkling group of amateurs that included lawyers, professors, businessmen ... Donovan initially found Berg appealing probably because of his linguistic skills [he is reputed to have mastered 12 languages]. Berg took an oath of secrecy, was issued a revolver and a capsule of cyanide, and was given a variety of assignments in Italy, Switzerland and Sweden. Easily his most significant work was in atomic counterintelligence. The British were confident that Hitlerís scientists were nowhere near completion of an atomic bomb, but Donovan and Lt. Gen. Leslie Groves, head of the Manhattan Project ñ the U.S. bomb effort ñ wanted their own confirmation. In preparation, Berg had immersed himself in nuclear physics. This enabled him to attend a lecture given in 1944 in Zurich by the leading German atomic scientist, Werner Heisenberg. Berg had orders to kidnap or assassinate Heisenberg if a German atomic bomb project was flourishing. Masquerading as a student, Berg listened to Heisenbergís talk, which had nothing to do with weapons production. Afterward, Berg strolled about gathering information and ultimately decided to let Heisenberg be. A recently declassified memo written in 1946 by Colonel Howard Dix to recommend Berg for the Medal of Freedom says that Bergís attendance at the meeting ëyielded the most important information snatched from under the cloak of secrecy which the Germans maintained on this subject. This and other information sent back by Mr. Berg and obtained by him while under continual risk of exposure and retaliatory action, was used in guiding, the U.S. operation in this field and in determining ... the pressures to be placed upon U.S. scientists for rapid progress towards ultimate completion of the Manhattan Project.íî In 1994, Dawidoffís biography of Berg was published by Pantheon Books, ìThe Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg.î
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Last Found On: 2014-04-01           Check availability:      ABAA    


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