This weekend the Mets family has lost yet another player from the sixties. Greg Goossen passed away at his home in Sherman Oaks, California, he was 65.
Gregory Bryant Goossen was born on December 14, 1945 In Los Angeles, California. He attended Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks and was a star baseball player. He was originally signed as an amateur free agent in 1964 by the home town Dodgers but was released the next year.
He batted .290 in only 11 games, the best average he would hit for in his Mets career. Casey Stengel made a remark about Ed Kranepool & Goossen saying “See that guy there, (Kranepool) in ten years he has a chance to be a star. There we have a fine young catcher who is only nineteen years old. In ten years he has the chance to be twenty nine”.
That month he caught the first game Nolan Ryan ever pitched, and was later honored in 1992 at a Nolan Ryan ceremony in Texas. He hit one more HR that month; it would be his last as a Met. In 1967 he was aboard for the whole season as one of three backups behind Jerry Grote, but he only hit .159 in 37 games.
He followed with a .208 average in 1968 playing in 38 games, with seven doubles & six RBIs. By 1968 Grote was an All Star and J.C. Martin had arrived as his back up. Not that Martin was a good hitter either but the Mets chose him over Goossen & had their eyes set on Duffy Dyer for the future. Gossen was traded to the expansion Seattle Pilots for cash and as the player to be named later, in July they received Jim Gosger.
Goossen enjoyed his best season in 1969 playing first base & outfield as his catching days were behind him. He enjoyed career highs in batting (.309) HRs (10) RBIs (24) Hits (47) and games played (52). He was mentioned many times as a subject who could laugh at himself in Jim Bouton’s book Ball Four.
He went with the team to Milwaukee and briefly played as an original Brewer before being purchased by the Senators. He was sent to the Phillies for Curt Flood but never played at the big league level. Lifetime in six seasons he had 111 hits, batted .241 with 13 HRs 24 doubles & 44 RBIs.
Retirement: After baseball Goossen had a bust life, first he became a private detective. Then he was a corner man in the boxing ring, working with his two brothers who were pro boxers. Since then he has enjoyed a life in Hollywood. He plays the stand in for actor Gene Hackman in over a dozen films including roles in Get Shorty, Behind Enemy Lines & Mr. Baseball.
"We met when I was managing boxers with my brothers, and Hackman was doing research for the 1988 film "Split Decisions. He just took a liking to me; we just got along very well. He took care of this old, befuddled, used-up baseball player."
In February of 2011, Goossen was to be inducted into the Notre Dame High School Hall of Fame. When he missed a photo shoot a family member went to check on him & found him passed away. Cause of death yet to be determined; he was survived by three dughters, seven brothers & two sisters.