Christopher Stephen Begg
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 4", Weight 195 lb.
- School Niagara University
Chris Begg played for a number of seasons in the San Francisco Giants organization. He has appeared for the Canadian national team in numerous competitions, including the Olympics and the World Baseball Classic.
Begg earned a degree in marketing while attending Niagara University. He was 5-6 with a 3.89 ERA as a junior in college in 2000. The next year, he dazzled the Metro Atlantic Conference, going 8-3 with a 2.63 ERA and 86 K in 92 IP. He finished 4th in the MAAC in strikeouts, tied for second in wins and second in ERA. He was named to the All-Conference team and won Pitcher of the Year honors.
Begg then went undrafted in the 2001 amateur draft. He played for the Johnstown Johnnies for one game later that year, with a 7.36 ERA and a no-decision. The 2002 Baseball Almanac does not list him with this team. Signed by the independent Albany-Colonie Diamond Dogs for 2002, Begg was 3-2 with one save and a 2.53 ERA. In 53 1/3 IP, he allowed no home runs.
Begg began 2003 with the St. Paul Saints and was on fire, going 7-0 with a 1.50 ERA. He would win the Northern League Rookie Pitcher of the Year Award but didn't finish the year with them, as the San Francisco Giants purchased his contract in June.
Organized Baseball and International Play
Begg was 4-1 with a 1.15 ERA in 7 games for the San Jose Giants and 2-1 with a 4.38 ERA in 4 games for the Norwich Navigators to complete 2003. Chris split 2004 between Norwich (9-1, 2.30, 61 K to 11 BB in 94 IP) and the Fresno Grizzlies (2-5, 6.97). He joined Team Canada for the 2004 Olympics and went 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 5 games (8 IP). He trailed John Ogiltree and Aaron Myette in games pitched for Canada in those Olympics. His loss was a big one as he entered the semifinal against Cuba with a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the 7th. He pitched a scoreless frame, but in the 8th, allowed three straight singles to Eduardo Paret, Michel Enriquez and Yulieski Gourriel before being yanked. All 3 runners would score, Canada would lose to Cuba and Begg was tagged with the defeat.
In 2005, Chris had a 8-7, 3.07 record for Norwich, walking only 1.50 per 9 innings pitched. He finished 5th in the Eastern League in ERA behind Jon Lester, Yusmeiro Petit, Matt DeSalvo and Cory Morris. He returned to Team Canada for the 2005 Baseball World Cup. He led the team with 13 strikeouts (in 11 1/3 IP) but was 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA, taking the defeat against the Dutch national team.
Begg started 2006 with Team Canada, in the first World Baseball Classic. He relieved Adam Loewen in the 4th inning of the game against the USA national team with a 7-0 lead. He retired his only batter that inning and his team got insurance in the top of the fifth. In the bottom of the fifth, though, Begg almost blew the game. He gave up a leadoff single to Michael Young, then after retiring Derek Jeter, allowed a RBI double to Ken Griffey Jr.. Jeff Francoeur pinch-ran and Derrek Lee singled him home to make it 8-2. Chipper Jones singled but Begg retired Mark Teixeira. Vernon Wells walked to load the bases. Eric Cyr "relieved" Begg and let all three inherited runners score. Canada won 8-6 but Begg's 45.00 ERA would be the best on the team in a pitching-poor tourney for the country.
Returning to the minors, Begg bounced back, going 13-10 with a 3.40 ERA for the Connecticut Defenders with 1.60 BB/9. He led Giants minor leaguers in innings pitched (175) and complete games (3). He also led the Eastern League in innings pitched and finished 8th in ERA, following Willie Collazo, Landon Jacobsen, Devern Hansack and Tyler Clippard on the leader board. He was two wins behind leader Adam Miller.
Begg returned to team Canada for the 2008 Olympics qualifying tournament in August and September of 2006 and was 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA. He ranked fifth in the tournament in ERA, second among non-Cuban hurlers.
That winter, Begg starred for the Águilas del Zulia, going 3-1 with a 1.08 ERA to lead the Venezuelan Winter League. He struggled in the playoffs with a 1-3, 4.74 record. He also joined Team Canada for the qualifiers for the 2008 Olympics and went 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA but Canada fell short of qualifying.
Begg started 2007 back with Connecticut, going 2-0 with a 2.10 ERA and just one walk in 25 2/3 IP. That led to his promotion back to Fresno after two years away from AAA. Through May 26, he was 2-1 with a 4.21 ERA for the Grizzlies, walking 4 in 25 2/3 IP but allowing 31 hits. On June 7, he pitched the first complete game shutout that year in the Pacific Coast League, 3-hitting the Las Vegas 51s. It dropped his ERA to 2.88 and improved his record to 4-1. He finished the year with a 12-5, 4.36 campaign for Fresno.
In 2008, Begg pitched briefly for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes and San Jose Giants before joining Team Canada for the 2008 Olympics. He was 1-1 with a 0.75 ERA in Beijing, tossing 6 2/3 shutout innings and striking out 9 against China and allowing only one run in 5 1/3 IP against Japan in a tough 1-0 loss to Yoshihisa Naruse. Begg allowed only a solo homer to Atsunori Inaba in the defeat. Chris's 14 strikeouts led the round-robin phase, one ahead of Yoshihisa Naruse.
Begg's solid performance in the 2008 Olympics earned him a spot in the bullpen for team Canada in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, in spite of having been released by the Giants and not having found another professional team. In a repeat of his 2006 nightmare, Begg was used once again in relief against Team USA on March 7 in Toronto, and gave up a two-run home run to Adam Dunn that was the difference in Canada's 6-5 loss to the Americans.
IBAF website, 2007 Giants Media Guide, Team Canada 2006 WBC Media Guide, World Baseball Classic website, 2005 Baseball World Cup website, 2001-2007 Baseball Almanacs, Minorleaguebaseball.com, 2008 Olympics, Team Canada 2008 Olympic roster