The Spy Who Played Baseball

November 26, 2018

Book Reviews

Sam Levin

Perfect for baseball and history fans

Carrie Jones
Kar-Ben Publishing | Minneapolis, MN

Reviewed by Sam Levin

I had the opportunity to read a great book called, The Spy Who Played Baseball.

It is about how Moe Berg played baseball and was a spy. Nobody expected Moe to become famous. When Moe was seven years old, he started playing baseball. His coach told him, instead of a Jewish name like Moe Berg, to go by Runt Wolfe.

Moe loved school so much, that in the book it says, “He hated to miss school. Once, he cut his leg so badly that he couldn’t even walk but went to school in a wheelbarrow.” Moe finished high school by age 16. He had studied Hebrew, French, Latin, and Greek. All that study paid off and he was accepted to Princeton University, one of the best colleges in the country. When he was in college, he played baseball and he used Latin as a secret code with his teammates. Moe set a team record-winning season and, as soon as he left college, Brooklyn’s pro baseball team hired him. Moe went to law school while playing pro baseball and the press called him, “The Professor.”

Years later, Moe joined the U.S. office of Strategic Services and became a spy. It was a dangerous thing to spy on the Nazis, even more dangerous if you are Jewish. His next mission was even more dangerous. U.S. officials worried Germany was building an atomic bomb that could kill thousands. Moe’s assignment was to get information from Germany’s best physicist, Werner Heisenberg. First, Moe studied as much science as he could about an atomic bomb. Then, he went to Switzerland, where Heisenberg was giving a speech. Moe, disguised as a German businessman, attended the speech, but could not tell if the Germans were close to building the bomb or not. In an act to find out more, Moe found his way into a party for Heisenberg and, pretending to be friendly, chatted with him. Moe determined that Heisenberg was not close at all to building the atomic bomb.

Moe continued to spy for the U.S. until they defeated Germany and Japan in 1945. He returned as a hero. The President tried to award him the Medal of Merit, but Moe politely refused. He was too old to play baseball, but occasionally went to a Mets game. In his old days, he loved reading and read 12 books a day. Moe died in 1972, and only his sister knows where he was buried. Even after death, Moe Berg remains a mystery.

In my opinion, this is a really great book and I recommend it to anyone who likes baseball or history.

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Carrie Jones will be at the Sandler Family Campus on Sunday, Dec. 2 as a guest author during Latkepalooza and Camp Extravaganza with Rick Recht LIVE. For more information about Latkepalooza and Camp Extravaganza, visit JewishVA.org/latkepalooza.

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Sam A. Levin is 10 years old and is in fifth grade at Kingston Elementary School in Virginia Beach. He enjoys playing flag football and baseball, as well as attending all Virginia Tech sporting events.

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