[ RadSafe ] .....A GOOD....and...FASCINATING STORY with thanks to Don M.
maurysis at peoplepc.com
Tue Aug 30 07:17:10 CDT 2016
Courtesy Don M. -- Another amazing background of people and times. . . .
When baseball greats Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig went on tour in
baseball-crazy Japan in 1934...some fans wondered why...''a third-string
ball catcher named Moe Berg'' was included. Although he played with five
major-league teams from 1923 to 1939...Moe was a very mediocre ball
player. But Moe was regarded as "the brainiest ballplayer of all time."
In fact..Casey Stengel once said: "This is the strangest man ever to
When all the baseball stars went to Japan, Moe Berg
went with them and many people wondered why he went with "the team"
Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth. The answer was simple: Moe Berg was ''a
United States spy'' working undercover with the Office of Strategic
Services (predecessor of today's CIA). Moe spoke 15
languages...including Japanese. And he had two loves:
In Tokyo...garbed in a kimono...Moe Berg took
flowers to the daughter of an American diplomat being treated in St.
Luke's Hospital...the tallest building in the Japanese capital. He
never delivered the flowers. The ball-player ascended to the hospital
roof...and filmed key features: the Harbor, Military installations,
Railway yards, etc. Eight years later, General Jimmy Doolittle studied
Moe Berg's films in planning his spectacular raid on Tokyo..
His father disapproved and never once watched his
son play. In Barringer High School...Moe learned Latin, Greek and
French. Moe read at least 10 newspapers everyday.
He graduated 'Magna Cum Laude' from
Princeton...having added Spanish, Italian, German and Sanskrit to his
linguistic quiver. During further studies at the Sorbonne in Paris,
inColumbia Law School...he picked up Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian,
Arabic, Portuguese and Hungarian: 15 languages in all...plus some
regional dialects. While playing baseball for Princeton University..Moe
Berg would describe plays in Latin...or Sanskrit.
During World War II...Moe was parachuted into
Yugoslavia to assess the value to the war effort of the two groups of
partisans there. He reported back that Marshall Tito's forces were
widely supported by the people and Winston Churchill ordered all-out
support for the Yugoslav underground fighter, rather than Mihajlovic's
The parachute jump...at age 41...undoubtedly was a
challenge. But there was more to come in that same year. Moe Berg
penetrated German-held Norway...met with members of the underground and
located a secret heavy-water plant...part of the Nazis' effort to build
an atomic bomb. Moe Berg's information...guided the Royal Air Force in
a bombing raid to destroy that plant. The R.A.F. destroys the
Norwegian heavy water plant targeted by Moe Berg.
There still remained the question...of how far had
the Nazis progressed in the race to build the first Atomic bomb. If the
Nazis were successful, they would win the war. Moe Berg (under the code
name "Remus") was sent to Switzerland to hear leading German physicist
Werner Heisenberg, a Nobel Laureate lecturer...and to determine if the
Nazis were close to building an A-bomb. Moe managed to slip past the SS
guards at the auditorium... posing as a Swiss graduate student. The spy
carried in his pocket a pistol and a cyanide pill.
If the German indicated the Nazis were close to
building a weapon..Berg was to shoot him...and then swallow the cyanide
pill. Moe...sitting in the front row...determined that the Germans were
nowhere near their goal so he complimented Mr. Heisenberg on his
speech...and walked him back to his hotel.
Werner Heisenberg - he blocked the Nazis from
acquiring an atomic bomb. Moe Berg's report was distributed to
Britain's Prime Minister Winston Churchill, President Franklin D.
Roosevelt, and key figures in the team... developing the Atomic Bomb.
Roosevelt responded: "Give my regards to the catcher.”
Most of Germany's leading physicists had been
Jewish...and had fled the Nazis mainly to Britain and the United
States. After the war, Moe Berg was awarded the Medal of Freedom -
America 's highest honor for a civilian in wartime. But Berg refused to
accept it because he couldn't tell people about his exploits.
After his death, his sister accepted the Medal. It
now hangs in the Baseball Hall of Fame...in Cooperstown. Presidential
Medal of Freedom: the highest award given to civilians during
wartime. Moe Berg's baseball card is the only card on display at the
CIA Headquarters in Washington, DC.
So, "Now you know!"
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