954 Winter 2020 The Catcher Was a Spy: the Strange Life of Moe Berg
Tuesday, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 28
United Christian Parish, Reston
Instructor: Jim Dunphy
Catchers are the most heavily armored of all baseball players, and their armor is sometimes jokingly referred to as the “tools of ignorance.” Yet one baseball catcher cannot be so labeled—Morris “Moe” Berg. In a time when few baseball players even graduated from high school, Berg was a graduate of Princeton University and Columbia Law School. He was fluent in seven languages (but, as a wag noted, couldn’t hit in any of them). Despite a .243 batting average, he had a 10-year major league baseball career. Yet it was his other life as a spy that makes Berg stand out. Whether it involved taking pictures of Japanese military facilities while on a baseball tour, working in the Balkans with the Office of Strategic Services (precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA]), interviewing German nuclear scientists, or under contract with the post-WWII CIA, Berg’s life was adventurous, to say the least. Join us as we consider the life and times of one of the strangest individuals ever to wear a baseball uniform.
Jim Dunphy, a long-time Nationals season ticket holder, has taught a number of OLLI classes in history, music, baseball, and whatever else tickles his fancy.