Becker Is Another Genovese Find

When George Genovese was scouting Southern California for the Giants, he regularly provided them with some mighty players. Consider that he signed some 40 who went on to the big leagues including the likes of Jack Clark, Matt Williams, Garry Maddux, Gary Matthews, George Foster, Chili Davis and Dave Kingman. That's a load of talent.

Not enough for San Francisco to keep George on the job when he passed retirement age. They let him go but the thing is that George never has considered retiring. Slowing up a bit, maybe, but not to leave baseball entirely. So it was that he caught on with the Dodgers as a part-time scout.

What George does for the Dodgers is running a scout team, mostly culled from those who got passed over in the draft. Of those, when he finds someone he thinks deserves a chance, he nails them for L.A.

Becker is typical in that he didn't get drafted out of high school so went to Antelope Valley Junior College. Nobody chose him there, either. LaVerne College wanted him but it's Division III so couldn't offer a scholarship and he didn't have the money to enroll.

He stayed away from baseball for awhile, working construction among other jobs- going to work every day and hating the life, hoping to raise enough dough to attend school. Then George came along and enrolled him in his summer playing program instead.

He liked what he saw and this past January , Becker was offered a contract. "I didn't get any money," he admits. "But George gave me a chance."

Right now he's taking advantage of it. He's the everyday shortstop and leadoff man for the Gulf Coast Dodgers, hitting well (.304) and stealing bases when he gets the opportunity, having tried four times, making each successfully.

Leading off is new to him. "I always hit second or third before," he relates. "I guess everybody got bigger than me."

He's 5-11, 175 and hits line drives, not for distance. He seems very sure-handed in the field and has enough arm for short. The main thing for this 21-year-old is that he's playing the game he always wanted to.

And George? He's out in California running his team, sorting carefully through the players that others have missed. He, too, is doing what he does best.