Photo courtesy Evansville Courier and Press.
Goldbach, a native of nearby Princeton, Indiana, signed with Evansville midway through the 2005 season then spent the entire 2006 season with the Otters. Golfbach was the Frontier League Post-Season All-Star First Baseman in 2006 and led Evansville to their first Frontier League championship.
“We are saddened to hear about the passing of former Evansville Otter player Jeff Goldbach,” said Otters’ owner Bill Bussing. “Jeff was the key to the Otters winning the 2006 Frontier League Championship. He was a leader on and off the field. Besides being one of the best players we’ve ever had, he was a terrific person. I got to know Jeff more after his playing days were over. His sense of humor was unmatched. I’m stunned by the news of his passing. The Evansville Otters organization extends its deepest condolences to the Goldbach family”.
Goldbach began his professional career as a 2nd round draft choice in 1998 by the Chicago Cubs out of Princeton High School. Goldbach spent five seasons in the Cubs’ organization followed by a season with the Texas Rangers, advancing to the Double-A level. He played for the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks and Joliet Jackhammers of the Northern League before coming to Evansville. In only 52 games for the 2005 Otters, Jeff set the then team home run record with 19, drove in 64 runs, and hit .339. His final professional season was the 2006 campaign, when he hit .306 with 17 home runs and 69 RBI.
“Jeff was the team leader both on and off the field,” said Frontier League deputy commissioner Steve Tahsler, who was the Otters’ general manager when Goldbach played. “His work ethic and attitude set the tone for players while his baseball skills were a key factor in the Otters’ first championship. Off the field, Jeff was a tremendous person who accepted the role as face of the club and set a great example for the rest of the team. We are sending our thoughts and prayers to his family, including his three teenage children, as they deal with this terrible situation.”
After his baseball career, Goldbach earned a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from nearby Oakland City University. He was a business partner in a high-tech company in Greensboro, North Carolina.