8.30.2013

1933 Goudey
Morris "Moe" Berg

Do you remember that old Heinz Ketchup commercial? The one with the "anticipation" jingle?

Well that was me this week. I've wanted this card for 35-plus years and today it arrived.

As a kid of the 80s, I always wanted certain cards: any Mickey Mantle, any Babe Ruth, any Ty Cobb, any Honus Wagner and this very card.

Mantle, check. Ruth, check. Cobb, check. Wagner, check. Berg, check.

One of the only cards I still really, really want is a 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth. But any of those cards (there are four) may be out of my price range. Even a poor old version is likely to set me back close to $1,000. And then there's the fake factor. I've come to the realization that if I ever were to purchase such a card it would have to be graded. And you know how I feel about having a card encased in plastic.

Moe Berg actually played with Babe Ruth as part of an All-Star team that traveled to Japan in 1934. What was a light-hitting, backup catcher doing on an All-Star team? Well, he did speak Japaneese. He actually spoke seven languages and was a graduate of Princeton and Columbia Law School. It could be argued that Berg was the smartest baseball player to ever play in the Big Leagues. He couldn't hit, but was very intelligent.

While in Japan, Berg filmed parts of the Tokyo skyline and harbor. It is said that Berg's footage was used to identify targets as the U.S. bombed Tokyo during World War II.

Did I mention Moe Berg was a spy? After his life in baseball, Berg joined the OSS, a precursor to the CIA. He even traveled to Europe during the war and gained intelligence on Germany's nuclear program. He was a real hero.

As a kid, Moe Berg fascinated me. As an adult, Moe Berg fascinates me.

Oh, and by the way, I have another Moe Berg card in the mail, a 1940 Play Ball. I will be happy to see that card arrive also, but not as happy as when this one landed in my mailbox.

As I said, I've been waiting a long time.

4 comments:

jlfriedmann said...

Beautiful card. Moe Berg has always been a hero to me. A genius, a ballplayer and a spy.

Captain Canuck said...

sweet card.

almost in too good a shape for this blog ;)

unclemoe said...

Cool.

Scott Crawford said...

Bergs (this one, the Play Balls, whatever) are high on my want list, too. Good on ye for getting one.