Mark: The very mysterious Moe Berg

From Jonathan Mark at New York Jewish Week on May 29, 2019, with mention of SABR member Aviva Kempner:

Moe Berg was “the strangest man ever to play baseball,” recalled Casey Stengel, with his half-century expertise on baseball and the strange. After all, Stengel didn’t know another Jewish journeyman player who spoke a dozen languages, graduated Princeton University and Columbia Law School, was so slow getting to first base that he could be clocked with a sun dial, had absolutely no power (only six triples and six homers in 15 years) and was licensed to kill. Berg was an American spy, a veritable James Bond (and as magnetic to women), working in wartime Europe and Japan, before his remains were flown to Israel in 1972.

This most intriguing of tales is told in an almost impossibly brief 101 minutes in Aviva Kempner’s new documentary, “The Spy Behind Home Plate,” opening May 31 at the Quad Cinema in Greenwich Village.

Berg played seldom, but talked often, telling stories in bullpens across the country. A biography for SABR (the Society for American Baseball Research) quoted John Kieran, a sportswriter for The New York Times: “I never knew a ballplayer who didn’t like him,” as he was able to be a regular guy though he was anything but.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: May 30, 2019. Last Updated: May 30, 2019.