Sunday, March 2, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday...Moe Berg

Today we celebrate the Happy Baseball Birthday of former big league catcher Moe Berg.

Moe Berg was born on March 2nd, 1902, in New York, NY, played college baseball at Princeton, and made his big league debut on June 27th, 1921, with the Brooklyn Robins.

Moe played in 663 big league games in 15 years, with the Robins, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators, and Boston Red Sox.

Moe's 441 career base hits and .243 lifetime batting average aren't stats of legend, but the legend that is Moe Berg is, of course, more than the stats in a box score. 

Years after he played his final game, it was revealed that Moe was more than just a ballplayer.

Moe Berg, along with hundreds other big league players, played exhibition games in Japan to make extra money in the off season.

As he traveled and played baseball overseas in the Far East, Moe Berg took a lot of snapshots of his fellow ballplayers, ballparks, and Japanese culture.

He took thousands of photos, many non baseball pictures as well.

His teammates never really knew why Moe was so interested in snapping so many shots of the Japanese landacape, instead of hanging out with the other players. 

Moe Berg, who played in Ebbets Field, Shibe Park, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Navin Field, Comiskey Park, was secretly a spy for America, the good old USA.

Japan and America were having not so good relations in the 1930's, and many feared war was coming.

Moe Berg was enlisted secretly to use his ball playing trips to Japan to snap pictures anywhere, and everywhere he could, to help the US in case of aggression by the Japanese.

It took a special person to do what Moe Berg did, to play baseball, have a family, travel overseas, be a baseball playing ambassador,  smile,  make friends, take lots of pictures, all while knowing he may be caught spying. 

Moe Berg passed away on May 5th, 1972, in Bellville,  New Jersey, at the age of 70.

Today we salute a true American hero, and say Happy Baseball Birthday to Moe Berg.

Play Ball!

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