Tom G. Becker
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 205 lb.
Tom Becker pitched seven seasons in the minor leagues. He played for Australia in the Olympics and helped them win Gold for the first time in a major international event in the 1999 Intercontinental Cup. His fastball hit the mid-90s on the radar gun. He also once led an independent league in ERA.
Becker was signed by the New York Yankees and debuted in the USA in 1994 with the GCL Yankees, going 1-3 with a 2.84 ERA. In 1995, he was 6-6 with a 5.33 ERA for the Oneonta Yankees. Becker made his Australian Baseball League debut that winter; he was 4-2 with a 4.09 ERA for his hometown Adelaide Giants. He struck out 59 but walked 29 in 50 2/3 innings.. He was 5th in the ABL in strikeouts.
Tom made solid strides in 1996 with the Greensboro Bats, posting a 6-9, 3.69 record. He continued to struggle with control, issuing 75 walks in 127 innings. He won 6, lost 3 and saved two for Adelaide in 1996-1997, with a 4.52 ERA. Becker was a full-time reliever for the 1997 Tampa Yankees and had a 2-1, 5.02 record, walking 26 in 43 innings. He was let go by the Yankees system.
In 1998, the hard-throwing Australian moved to the independent leagues with the Atlantic City Surf (1-0, 7.20) and Cook County Cheetahs (5-0). He was 1-1 with a 5.68 ERA for the Australian national team in the 1998 Baseball World Cup, the first time that professional players appeared in an international tournament.
Becker showed surprising control for Adelaide in the 1998-1999 ABL, walking just 4 in 24 innings and striking out 27. He was 1-0 with two saves and a 3.75 ERA. Becker was back with Cook County in 1999, going 9-4 with 4 saves and a 2.54 ERA. He fanned 107 in 96 innings and walked 30. He led the Frontier League in ERA and was named to the All-Star team as the top starting pitcher but lost Pitcher of the Year honors to reliever John Oestreich.
In the 1999 Intercontinental Cup, Becker won one game and saved two in four appearances. He allowed no runs in 10 2/3 innings pitched. He saved his best for the Gold Medal game, shutting out the Cuban national team from the 8th until the 11th to get the win over Carlos Yánes. He allowed just one hit in 3 1/3 innings. It was the first time (and only time through 2007) that Australia won Gold in the major international competition of the year.
Becker was 2-1 with a 4.09 ERA in the 1999-2000 International Baseball League of Australia. He returned to the affiliated minors in 2000 with the Lakeland Tigers (1-0, 1 Sv, 1.50 in 2 games) and Jacksonville Suns (0-4, 6.63 in 37 appearances). In the 2000 Olympics, Becker again shone, throwing 2 1/3 scoreless innings for the Aussies against a strong Japanese national team. He also appeared against the Italian national team and allowed two runs in two innings, but both were unearned.
Becker allowed two runs in two innings in the 2001 Baseball World Cup.
He went to the Netherlands in 2002 to pitch for Neptunus. He saved six games, third behind Michiel van Kampen and Richard Beljaards in Hoofdklasse. He won the final game of the 2002 European Cup. In 2003, Becker saved 11 games, two behind Robin van Doornspeek for the league lead. He again won the finale of the European Cup. Becker appeared in Australia in the 2004 Claxton Shield, pitching 3 1/3 scoreless innings and saving one game for South Australia. In 2004, he saved 13 games for Neptunus to lead Hoofdklasse and fall one shy of the league record. He lost one game and saved one in the 2004 Holland Series, which Neptunus won. For the third straight year, he won the deciding contest in the European Cup.
He had a 3.60 ERA in the 2004 Haarlem Baseball Week. Becker concluded his career with the 2005 Claxton Shield, going 0-1 with a save and a 4.91 ERA. Overall, he was 13-7 with 6 saves and a 4.15 ERA in Australian leagues.