The Catcher Was a Spy Critical Essays

Nicholas Dawidoff

The Catcher Was a Spy

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Although Nicholas Dawidoff has written for THE NEW YORKER, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, THE NEW REPUBLIC, and other leading American journals, THE CATCHER WAS A SPY is his first book. Born Morris Berg on March 2, 1902, in the section of New York City known as Harlem, Moe Berg was the third and youngest child of Bernard Berg and Rose Berg. His father was a druggist and his mother a housewife. They were Jewish and had emigrated from the Ukraine. Moe was highly intelligent and attended Princeton University. In addition to his academic prowess, Berg was an excellent baseball player. After graduation, he decided to pursue a baseball career instead of a more mainstream profession. His father was upset that his son would seemingly throw away his Ivy League education in order to earn a living playing a “frivolous” game like baseball. Berg would play in the major leagues for sixteen years. Although he was never more than a mediocre player, Berg loved the game. As an intellectual, he had little in common with the majority of other players in the league. Berg could be very charming, but for the most part he kept to himself.

After his playing days had ended, Berg became a coach for the Boston Red Sox. His coaching career did not last for long because after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Berg decided to retire from baseball and volunteer his services to the war effort. In 1942, Berg began working for the Office of Inter- American Affairs. After working...

(The entire section is 553 words.)