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Major league spy honored

Mel Wacks, director of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame, will present a Moe Berg medal to the patriot?s cousin, Irwin Berg, at a ceremony to be held at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., starting at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17.

Moe Berg is the only major-league baseball player honored by both the CIA Hall of Fame and the International Spy Museum.

The Berg commemorative, designed by award-winning medallist Eugene Daub, features a jigsaw puzzle portrait ? with one piece missing ? indicating the mystery surrounding the life of the honoree.

Morris ?Moe? Berg was born in New York City in 1902. He majored in modern languages at Princeton University, where he played on a championship baseball team. After graduating in 1923, he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers as a first baseman, and the Chicago White Sox while attending Columbia Law School.

Berg was admitted to the New York State bar in 1928 and continued playing for the White Sox, even after joining a prestigious law firm. But one day, Berg was injured when he tore ligaments in his right knee. In 1931, the Sox traded Berg to the Cleveland Indians and later he was traded to the Washington Senators.

He was a member of the Senators? pennant-winning team in 1933 and set an American League record by catching in 117 consecutive games from 1931-1934 without making an error.

Berg was recruited into the Office of Strategic Services as a civilian employee during World War II and took part in secret missions to Yugoslavia, Italy, Norway and Switzerland. He was awarded the Medal of Freedom by the U.S. in 1946, but modesty led him to return it.

The Moe Berg medal is the 37th issue in what is now the longest continuing series of art medals in America.

The two-inch diameter, three-ounce, high-relief Berg medals are available to the public for contributions of $35 for bronze (limited to 500), $95 for pure silver (limited to 250) and $150 for gold-plated pure silver (limited to 35).

Orders can be sent to the non-profit Jewish-American Hall of Fame, 5189 Jeffdale Ave., Woodland Hills, CA 91364; credit card orders can be placed by calling (818) 225-1348. Add $5 per order for shipping and insurance.

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