[ RadSafe ] .....A GOOD....and...FASCINATING STORY with thanks to Don M.

Maury 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 
play baseball".

                     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.

                     Tito's  partisans

                     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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