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 Berg played first base

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cerberus
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PostSubject: Berg played first base    Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:22 pm

After graduating from Barringer, Berg enrolled in New York University. He spent two semesters there and played baseball and basketball. In 1919 he transferred to Princeton University, and never again mentioned that he attended NYU for a year, presenting himself exclusively as a Princeton man.[6] Berg received a B.A., magna cum laude in modern languages. He had studied seven languages: Latin, Greek, French, Spanish, Italian, German and Sanskrit. His Jewish heritage and modest finances combined to keep him on the fringes of Princeton society, where he never quite fit in.[7]

During his freshman year, Berg played first base on an undefeated team. Beginning in his sophomore year, he was the starting shortstop. He was not a great hitter and was a slow baserunner, but he had a strong, accurate throwing arm and sound baseball instincts. In his senior season, he was captain of the team and had a .337 batting average, batting .611 against Princeton's arch-rivals, Harvard and Yale. Crossan Cooper, Princeton's second baseman, and Berg communicated plays in Latin when there was a man on second base.[8]

On June 26, 1923, Yale defeated Princeton 5–1 at Yankee Stadium to win the Big Three title. Berg had an outstanding day, getting two hits in four at bats (2–4) with a single and a double, and making several marvelous plays at shortstop. Both the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Robins desired "Jewish blood" on their teams, to appeal to the large Jewish community in New York, and expressed interest in Berg. The Giants were especially interested, but they already had two future Hall of Famers at shortstop, Dave "Beauty" Bancroft and Travis Jackson. The Robins were a mediocre team, where Berg would have a better chance to play. On June 27, 1923, Berg signed his first big league contract for $5,000 ($64,000 in current dollar terms) with the Robins.[9]



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