January 28, 2019
Every year, the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) hosts SABR Day across the country. This is the organization’s annual “Hot Stove gathering to celebrate the beginning of a new baseball season.” It is always held on the weekend between the NFL championship games and the Super Bowl.
This past Saturday, Aviva Kempner showed the work-in-progress of her upcoming film, The Spy Behind Home Plate, at the Bob Davids Chapter’s annual SABR Day meeting in Washington, DC. Kempner discussed Morris “Moe” Berg’s two trips to Japan.
Berg, was an enigmatic Jewish catcher during baseball’s Golden Age who joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) to spy for the U.S. on the Nazis’ atomic bomb program. Berg grew up in an immigrant Jewish family in Newark, N.J., attended Princeton University and received a J.D. from Columbia University during his offseasons in baseball. He played professional baseball from 1923 to 1939 for the Brooklyn Robins, Chicago White Sox. Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators, and Boston Red Sox.
Other speakers included Washington Nationals baseball analysts Lee Mendelowitz and Scott Van Lentenax, FanGraphs writer Sydney Bergman speaking on umpire ejections and ethnicity; and Steve Klein discussing the Black Sox Scandal.