Though he appeared in fewer than 200 major league games, Greg Goossen earned a high profile as a ballplayer. He was a central figure in Jim Bouton’s seminal baseball diary, Ball Four, and later Goossen served as a stand-in and actor in several Hollywood films.
As a baseball player between the lines, Goossen’s best season came with the expansion Seattle Pilots in 1969, the year that Bouton turned his eye on baseball and penned one of the best baseball books in history. That season, Goossen hit .309 with 10 homers and 24 RBI after being called up from the minors in late July. He wasn’t able to duplicate that success in 1970 when the team moved to Milwaukee and became the Brewers, finding himself sold to the Washington Senators, which was sort of like going from bad to worse on the baseball landscape.
Goossen was originally signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a catching prospect in the early 1960s but was bumped out of their organization quickly by other talent. He signed with the New York Mets and spent parts of four seasons with them, playing behind the dish as well as at first and some in the outfield.
In the 1970s, Goossen worked as a private investigator and boxing trainer (with his brother’s gym team). In 1988 he was introduced to Gene Hackman and the two quickly formed a friendship. Hackman had it written into his contract that Goossen would serve as his stand-in for all of his films going forward. Among the Hackman films Goossen appeared in are†Unforgiven, The Firm, Get Shorty, and Wyatt Earp.†