Former big league catcher Goossen dies at 65
Played for four teams, then became private eye, charactor actor
Greg Goossen, a catcher and first baseman who played parts of six Major League seasons with four clubs from 1965-70 and later worked as a private detective, boxing trainer and stand-in for actor Gene Hackman, died on Saturday at the age of 65.
The cause of death was not determined, but it appeared that Goossen suffered a heart attack at his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif., his brother Michael told The Associated Press.
Goossen was found dead by a family member after he did not appear for a photo session related to his induction into his high school Hall of Fame, which was scheduled to be held on Saturday.
Signed to a six-figure bonus by the Dodgers at the age of 18 in 1964, Goossen caught Hall of Fame pitchers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale during Spring Training for the Dodgers in 1965, before he was claimed by the Mets as a "first-year waiver pick" at the start of the season.
Goossen made his Major League debut as a September call-up for the Mets in 1965. He played in 99 games with New York from 1965-68 before being traded to the Seattle Pilots in exchange for outfielder Jim Gosger. It was Goossen's most productive season, as he posted career highs in hits (43), average (.309), homers (10), RBIs (24) and games played (52), while playing mostly at first base. Some fans may remember him as part of the Pilots team that was immortalized in the book "Ball Four."
Goossen went to Milwaukee when the Pilots moved there in 1970, and spent the season with the Brewers and Washington Senators, playing in a total of 42 games. After the season he was traded to the Phillies for Curt Flood, but he never made it back to the Majors and retired in 1971.
After his retirement, Goossen worked as a private detective and helped his brother, Joe, as a boxing trainer. He helped train former IBF middleweight champion and WBA super-middleweight champion Michael Nunn during the 1980s. Goossen also worked with Gabriel and Rafael Ruelas, brothers who became featherweight and lightweight champions in the 1990s.
During his days as as a trainer he was introduced to Hackman, and later served as the actor's stand-in in more than a dozen movies in films such as "Wyatt Earp," "Unforgiven," "The Firm" and "Get Shorty." He appeared in 18 films from 1989-2003.
Goossen, who was divorced, was survived by nine siblings and three daughters.
Matt Weber is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.