One of only two known autographed baseballs signed by enigmatic ballplayer and American spy Moe Berg will be auctioned by Huggins & Scott Auctions from October 31-November 10.
Berg played for fifteen years in the majors for four different American League teams. He was primarily a backup catcher, but was best known for his unique off-the-field interests. A Princeton University graduate who attended Columbia Law School, Berg spoke seven different languages and read ten daily newspapers.
During World War II, Berg served as a spy for the Office of Strategic Services (precursor to the CIA.) He traveled to Yugoslavia to collect information on resistance groups the United States government considered supporting. He was also sent to Italy and Switzerland to interview Italian physicists regarding the German nuclear program.
Legendary manager Casey Stengel quipped that Berg was “the strangest man ever to play baseball.”
Berg was born to Jewish parents in 1902 in the Harlem section of New York City. In 1923, Berg signed his first professional contract with the Brooklyn Robbins (Dodgers) for $5, 000. After two years in the minors, Berg joined the Chicago White Sox in 1926. Berg spent the rest of his career in the American League as a journeyman catcher playing for the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox and Washington Senators. Berg died in 1972 at the age of 70. His final spoken words were reported to be, “How did the Mets do today?” Full LOA from JSA. This item has a reserve (estimated value $10, 000-$15, 000).
The only other known ball signed by Berg sold for $35, 000 earlier this year.
Paul Rudd is set to star in The Catcher Was a Spy, a WWII thriller. The script is by Saving Private Ryan scribe Robert Rodat, who adapted the Nicholas Dawidoff bestselling book.