(’16 Blogathon) Moe Berg’s Secret Agent Files

This post is part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.

 

Moe Berg was perhaps the most interesting person in the history of baseball, despite the fact he wasn’t that good of a ballplayer. A graduate of Princeton and Colombia Law, he spoke seven languages and read up to ten newspapers a day.

And, of course, he was a spy, operating during WWII (and arguably both before and after) for American intelligence. His most famous work came for the Office of Special Services, AKA the OSS, the predecessor of the CIA.

And, guess what? His OSS file is available online.

And it is… surprisingly boring. Now, by it’s very nature, a lot of covert operations stuff is never written down in the first place, or is destroyed, and even the neat stuff is put into fairly dry language. So much of Berg’s file is of expense reports, salary information, transfer papers, record-keeping, and other more-or-less boring paperwork. Funny, we never see the paper trail that James Bond or Ethan Hunt leave behind.

Still, there are some interesting things. For example, you can find Berg’s accommodation for the Presidential Medal of Freedom (page 6), the recommendation for why he should receive it (starting on page 21 of the document, a fascinating rundown of some of Berg’s WWII activities), a similar recommendation (starting on page 30) for another award a (Medal for Merit) that goes into some detail on his work involved with finding out about Axis nuclear weapons research, and also his rejection of the award (page 41) citing his belief that it was a “very modest contribution” to the war effort and an attempt by the government to make him reconsider (page 56). There are also communiques where Berg is referred to by his codename of “Remus”, as well as (on page 50) a copy of his oath of office.

So, check it out over at the Internet Archive. Now… I just need to read The Catcher Was A Spy so I can understand what some of it was referring to.

At 4 AM: I remember a part of my childhood. Money is involved.

This post has been part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.

 

 

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One thought on “(’16 Blogathon) Moe Berg’s Secret Agent Files

  1. Pingback: Every Piece from the 2016 Blogathon | The Baseball Continuum

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