Readers may recall our earlier discussions of Moe Berg, the polymath Medal of Freedom winner who played professional baseball and became a WWII
spy. A new documentary film about his life opened last month. Michigan Today profiled the film and its filmmaker. Here's an excerpt.
Moe Berg Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medal
In May, Kempner released her latest one-of-a-kind story, The Spy Behind Home Plate. The movie tells the true tale of catcher and American
patriot Moe Berg, nicknamed "the brainiest guy in baseball." The gloveman played for several teams between 1923-39, most notably the Brooklyn Dodgers
and the Boston Red Sox. He also held a law degree, spoke multiple languages, and worked for a time on Wall Street between seasons.
But it's his career after baseball that captivated Kempner. In 1943, Berg joined the U.S. government's nascent wartime intelligence service, the
Office of Secret Services (OSS). This was the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency. Before long, the polymath patriot, ballplayer,
attorney, and linguist would prove to be an MVP of espionage, interviewing prominent Italian physicists who had inside knowledge of Hitler's atom
"The players loved Moe," Kempner says. "The fans loved Moe. But it's what he did out of the limelight that helped us defeat Hitler at a critical
moment in history. That was his biggest hit: a grand slam for America."
In fact, Kempner was blessed to gain access to 18 unseen interviews stored in a Princeton University archive. The footage had long ago been
recorded for an unproduced film on Berg. Kempner uses the clips to great effect and offers a fascinating look at this athlete who spoke several
languages and wrote a classicAtlantic essay on the catcher/pitcher pas de deux.
Humor is central to much of the work coming from this writer/director/producer. In one sequence, Kempner reveals how Berg, as a catcher playing
for Princeton in 1919 (no easy feat for a Jew), gave audible signals to his pitchers in Latin. When asked to describe his plan B, should the
opposition decode his calls, the catcher answered, "We'll switch to Sanskrit."
The Spy Behind Home Plate, inspired and financed by executive producer William Levine, opened in theaters nationwide in late May. For tour
dates visit thespybehindhomeplate.org .
To read the complete article, see:
A most valuable player
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
MOE BERG'S PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: SEPTEMBER 11, 2016 : Moe Berg Jewish-American Hall of Fame
WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: MAY 13, 2018
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JUNE 17, 2018 : Moe Berg Film Opens June 22, 2018
Wayne Homren, Editor
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor
at this address: email@example.com
To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 1998 - 2012 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.
NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster