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Ex-major leaguer Greg Goossen dies

February 27, 2011 |  9:17 am

Goossen_300 Greg Goossen, a former six-figure bonus baby of the Dodgers who played for Casey Stengel and the New York Mets, dabbled as a boxing trainer with his brother 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.

Goossen was scheduled 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. A cause of death has yet to be determined.

Born on Dec. 14, 1945, in Los Angeles, Goossen was the fourth member of a family of eight brothers and two sisters.  He was a standout football and basketball player at Notre Dame, where he graduated in 1964. He was a catcher in baseball, and the Dodgers drafted him and signed him for a six-figure bonus.

The Mets picked him up the following year on a waiver from the Dodgers. Stengel, the legendary manager of the Mets, said, "This is Greg Goossen. He's 19 years old, and in 10 years he's got a chance to be 29."

He played for the Mets, Seattle Pilots, Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Senators before his baseball career ended in 1970.

He worked as a private detective and later helped his brother, Joe, as a boxing trainer, working with Michael Nunn and the Ruelas brothers, Gabriel and Rafael. Another brother, Dan, was the promoter.

Through boxing, he met Hackman, became good friends and served as a stand-in while also getting bit parts in movies.

He was preparing to be honored by his alma mater Saturday night.

"He said, 'It's the highlight of my life being inducted into the Notre Dame Hall of Fame,' " said Jeff Kraemer, one of the organizers of the event.

Funeral arrangements are pending. [Updated, 9:26 a.m.: Goossen is survived by his three daughters, Erin Hyder, Tracey Woodside and Kimberly Goossen.]

-- Eric Sondheimer

[For the record, 9:53 a.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly quoted the Mets' Casey Stengel as saying of Goossen, "He's 20 years old, and in 10 years, he's got a chance to be 30."]

Photo: Greg Goossen in February of 1964. Credit: Al Markado / Los Angeles Times

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