March 4, 2011
MADE IT TO 65 (via Glenn Dryfoos);
Greg Goossen, Baseball Player Who Broke Mold, Dies at 65 (DOUGLAS MARTIN, 3/04/11, NY Times)
The Goossen saga began in 1964 when he was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers for a six-figure bonus and then surprisingly sent to the Mets the next year for $8,000. Mets coaches saw promise in him for several years before giving up and dealing him to the hapless Pilots, who lasted one season, 1969, before moving to Milwaukee and becoming the Brewers.Posted by Orrin Judd at March 4, 2011 3:35 PM
In Seattle, Goossen, a free-swinging right-handed hitter, led the team in batting with a .309 average. “I would have played here my whole career,” he told an interviewer.
Tommy Davis, a much-traveled power-hitting teammate at the time, interrupted the interview to blurt, “You did!”
Not by a long shot. Goossen played for 37 teams in the minor, Mexican and major leagues over eight years as a catcher, first baseman and outfielder. “Either everyone wanted me or everyone wanted to get rid of me,” he told Sports Illustrated in 1996.
Goossen earned a niche or two in baseball history. As a Met, he caught Nolan Ryan’s first big league game in 1966 and broke up a perfect game by Larry Jaster of the Cardinals with a two-out eighth-inning single in 1968. But as a lifelong Roman Catholic he was perplexed in 2009 when Howard Megdal, in his book “The Baseball Talmud,” called Goossen the seventh-greatest Jewish first basemen ever. (When asked about the choice, Mr. Megdal said he was an expert on baseball, not Judaism.)
It was Casey Stengel who made Goossen a baseball trivia legend with one remark in 1966. Stengel, having retired as the Mets manager the previous season, was visiting the Mets’ training camp when he pointed at Goossen and was reported to have said, “Goossen is only 20, and in 10 years he has a chance to be 30.”