Sunday, July 24, 2011

Daily Conlon: 181 through 189

Here are today's Daily Conlon cards numbered #181 to #189. The most notable player here and possibly our countries most unsung hero is Moe Berg (located on the niddle row, far left).

Moe wasn't much of a offensive ballplayer, but he sure could catch. Still, it was a better life than a potential career as a lawyer. Per his SABR biography:
"He encountered Dutch Carter, an eminent lawyer who advised him to keep playing professional baseball. Carter had wanted a baseball career himself, but his family had persuaded him to follow the law, and he still regretted it. He told Berg that he would have plenty of time to practice law after his baseball career was over. "
He spent most of his time as a backup catcher in his 15 year Major League career. Batting for a career average of .243, he started out his career in Brooklyn in 1923, but was sent down until he finally stuck with the White Sox in 1926. No doubt, his skills on the diamond is not what makes him notable. Moe Berg was "the strangest man ever to play baseball " according to Casey Stengel, and possibly the smartest man to ever put on a uniform. He was thought to be fluent in 12 languages and would regularly read 10 newspapers a day from all over the world. Moe Berg also work as a spy for the United Stated during and after his career in Baseball. This story is often told when speaking of Berg.
In 1934 Berg's career took the turn that made him the stuff of legend. Now a member of the team of Americans that took baseball to Japan, he presumably walked the streets of Tokyo dressed in a long black kimono. He entered St. Luke's Hospital carrying a bouquet of flowers intended for Ambassador Joseph Grew's daughter (Mrs. Cecil Burton), who had recently given birth to a daughter. He introduced himself as a friend of Mrs. Burton but instead of going to her room went up to the roof and using a motion picture camera shot the skyline and other important parts of Tokyo. He never visited Mrs. Burton.
He would later work for the Office of Strategic Services which would become the CIA.

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