Greg Goossen dies at 65; catcher signed with Dodgers for a six-figure bonus

Greg Goossen, a former Dodgers catcher who played six seasons in the major leagues, then dabbled as a boxing trainer and was a stand-in for actor Gene Hackman in more than a dozen films, was found dead Saturday at his home in Sherman Oaks. He was 65.

FOR THE RECORD: A news obituary of former major league baseball player Greg Goossen in the March 2 LATExtra section incorrectly reported that he played football and basketball at Notre Dame High School. He played football and baseball.

Goossen was to be inducted into the Notre Dame High School Hall of Fame on Saturday night. When he did not arrive for a photo session, a family member went to his nearby home and found him, said his brother, Dan. The cause of death has yet to be determined.

Goossen was a standout football and basketball player at Notre Dame, where he graduated in 1964. He was a catcher in baseball and the Dodgers signed him for a six-figure bonus.

Less than a year out of high school, he accepted an invitation to spring training with the Dodgers in 1965. Among his battery mates were two future Hall of Famers, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.


In April 1965, the New York Mets picked him up on waivers from the Dodgers. He played for the Mets, Seattle Pilots, Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Senators before his baseball career ended in 1970.

Goossen worked as a private detective and later helped his brother, Joe, as a boxing trainer, working with Michael Nunn, a middleweight champ in the 1980s, and the Ruelas brothers, Gabriel and Rafael, who became featherweight and lightweight champions in the 1990s. Dan was the promoter.

Through boxing, he became friends with Hackman and served as a stand-in starting with the 1988 movie “Split Decisions.” He also had bit parts in other movies.

Born on Dec. 14, 1945, in Los Angeles, Goossen was the fourth child of a family with eight sons and two daughters.

Goossen, who was divorced, is survived by daughters Erin Hyder, Tracey Woodside and Kimberly Goossen; brothers Gordon, Pat, Dan, Mike, Larry, Joe and Tom; and sisters Ellorie and Sandra.

The funeral will be at 6 p.m. March 10 at St. Francis De Sales Church, 13360 Valleyheart Drive, Sherman Oaks.

Times staff writer Lance Pugmire contributed to this story.