Russell Louis Goetz, 86, of McKeesport, died Wednesday, March 15, 2017. He was born Saturday, May 31, 1930, to father, Herbert J. Goetz, and mother, Edith (Rotzsch) Goetz, in McKeesport, the third of three sons, following brothers, Raymond and Robert.
Russ graduated from McKeesport High School in June, 1948, participating in many school activities including a member of the high school basketball team. He went on to enlist in the Navy, serving from October, 1950, through November, 1954, earning the US Navy National, US Navy Korea Defense, US Navy United Nations Korea, and US Navy China Service Medals. Graduating from the Bill McGowan umpiring school in San Diego, Calif., in 1955, Russ began his 29-year career as a professional baseball umpire, calling the game he loved in the Georgia State League in 1955 and 1956, Carolina League in 1957 and 1958, South Atlantic League from 1959 to 1961 and the Pacific Coast League from 1962 to 1967. Russ umpired his first of 2,384 Major League baseball games on Wednesday, April 10, 1968, as the 1967 AL Champion Boston Red Sox defeated the to-be 1968 World Series Champion Detroit Tigers 7 to 3 at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Mich. During his well-traveled major league career from 1968 to 1983, all with the American League, Russ umpired in two All Star Games 1970 (Cincinnati) and 1975 (Milwaukee), four American League playoff series, 1970 (Twins vs. Orioles), 1974 (Orioles vs. A's), 1977 (Royals vs. Yankees), 1981 (A's vs. Yankees) and two World Series, 1973 (Mets vs. A's) and 1979 (Orioles vs. Pirates), wearing uniform number 5 when AL adopted uniform numbers in 1980. He was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1989. Throughout his life, Russell was actively involved in the American Legion, Lions Club International, Boy Scouts of America, Rotary Club and the McKeesport Daily News baseball league. Russell Louis Goetz is survived by his wife, Dorothy (Genard) Goetz; ex-wife Elizabeth; son, Paul K. (Lisa) Goetz, of Gaithersburg, Md.; adopted children, Carl, John and Lisa; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Friends will be received from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, March 17, 2017, at STRIFFLER'S OF WHITE OAK CREMATION & MORTUARY SERVICES INC., 1100 Lincoln Way, White Oak, PA 15131, (Sue Striffler Galaski, supervisor), 412-678-6177, where services will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday with Pastor Glenn Irvin officiating. Burial will follow at McKeesport & Versailles Cemetery. Condolences may be made at www.strifflerfuneralhomes.com.
Originally published March 15, 2017.