The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg By Nicholas Dawidoff (480 Pages)Publisher: Random House, 1995
Moe Berg is the only major-league ballplayer whose baseball card is on display in the headquarters of the CIA. For following his fifteen-year career as a catcher for such teams as the New York Robins and the Chicago White Sox -- during which time he was known more for his erudition and eccentricity than for his athletic prowess -- Berg went on to become a spy for the OSS during World War II. In that capacity, Berg was once assigned to tail the Nazi physicist Werner Heisenberg and assassinate him if that would prevent the Nazis from developing an atom bomb. In The Catcher Was a Spy, Nicholas Dawidoff uncovers the scholar who studied at Princeton and the Sorbonne and was reputed to speak six languages (although his detractors argued that he couldn't hit in any of them).. But Dawidoff's most extraordinary achievement is to penetrate the layers of Berg's self-created cover and reveal the complex and profoundly lonely man who consorted with Joe DiMaggio, Wild Bill Donovan, and Albert Einstein but never married and remained an enigma to his own family. The Catcher Was a Spy is a triumphant work of historical and psychological detection.