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A biography traces the life of Moe Berg, major leaguer and spy

As a baseball player, Moe Berg belonged in the sock drawer of fame. He began his professional career in 1923 as the third baseman for the Brooklyn Robins and ended it 17 years later as the third-string catcher for the Boston Red Sox. He spent most of his playing days schmoozing and reading in dugouts and bullpens. His lifetime batting average was .243, he had only six home runs, and he was error-prone. If Berg ever stole a base, his latest biography, The Catcher Was a Spy (Pantheon; 453 pages; $24), does not mention it.

What the spirited and diligent writer...

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