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Ted Cox, ex-Red Sox with hits in 1st 6 at-bats, dies at 65

MIDWEST CITY, Okla. (AP) Ted Cox, the first major league player with hits in his first six at-bats, has died. He was 65.

Cox was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in November and died Wednesday at Hospice Quality Care in Midwest City, according to his son, Billy.

Cox was born in Oklahoma City, played at Midwest City High School and was selected by Boston with the 17th overall pick of the 1973 amateur draft.

"He really enjoyed coming up through the whole Boston farm system," Billy Cox said Friday. "He got to brag quite a bit that he was coached by Ted Williams."

Cox made his major league debut for the Red Sox on Sept. 18, 1977, at Baltimore and singled twice and walked off Mike Flanagan, then singled and doubled against Scott McGregor. The next day at Fenway Park, he singled twice off the New York Yankees' Ed Figueroa to break the record set by Cecil Travis of the 1933 Washington Senators. Cox grounded out against Figueroa in the fifth inning.

"His record was a big thing. We talked about that a lot," Billy Cox said. "He was very proud of that."

Cox hit .362 in 13 games that September, then was traded to Cleveland in the offseason with catcher Bo Diaz and right-handers Mike Paxton and Rick Wise for right-hander Dennis Eckersley and catcher Fred Kendall.

He spent five seasons in the major leagues with Boston (1977), Cleveland (1978-79), Seattle (1980) and Toronto (1981). Cox hit .245 with 10 homers and 79 RBIs in 771 at-bats over 272 games.

Cox also had the first game-winning RBI in American League history, a tiebreaking, two-run double off Dave Lemanczyk in the first inning that put Seattle ahead 4-2 in an 8-4 win over Toronto on April 9, 1980. Game-winning RBI was an official statistic from 1980-88.

After his playing career, he opened Grand Slam batting cages in Oklahoma City, served as Oklahoma baseball director of the United States Specialty Sports Association, and assisted as a coach at Midwest City High School and Oklahoma City University, Billy Cox said.

In addition to Billy, Cox is survived by his wife of 46 years, the former Debbie Pulliam; mother, Ernestine; son Joey; godson Milen Darby; grandsons Carter and Cole; sister Luana Albright and half sister Sydney Gard.

A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday at Barnes Friederich Funeral Home Chapel.

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Updated March 13, 2020

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