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Cox part of two baseball hall of fame inductions

Former Aberdeen Smittys standout Christian Cox was a standout player at the University of Nebraska. He was inducted into the South Dakota Baseball Hall of Fame as part of the Smittys 2018 squad and an individual last month. Photo courtesy of University of Nebraska

WICHITA, Kan. – Christian Cox had already been inducted into the South Dakota High School Baseball Hall of Fame once.

Last month, he got to do it all over again.

Cox, who was inducted as part of the 2008 Aberdeen squad that was part of the inaugural 2020 class, was admitted as an individual in the 2022 class. That ceremony was held in Sioux Falls during the high school state baseball tournament in May.

“It was a surprise, but exciting at the same time,” Cox said. “Especially looking at all the names of the other people being inducted. To be included on that list is humbling.”

Cox was one of 10 individuals to be enshrined in this year’s class, but was quick to deflect any credit for his accomplishments.

“None of that would have been possible without all the coaches and teammates and parents growing up,” he said. “It’s just a testament to them.”

Cox’s athletic abilities were not limited to the baseball field, but the diamond proved to be the arena of choice for the former Aberdeen Roncalli and Aberdeen Smittys standout.

“I always loved baseball,” he said. “Obviously, I played a bunch of other sports growing up. My parents had my brothers and I in a lot of activities, but I always felt like I had an advantage in baseball, being a lefty.”

After his time with the Smittys was up, Cox played two seasons of junior college ball at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. After that, he played his final two seasons at the University of Nebraska, where he compiled a career batting average of .214 under former MLB player and Jamestown, N.D. native Darin Erstad.

Following his collegiate career, Cox played some independent league ball before landing a free agent contract with the Toronto Blue Jays organization. Cox spent a year and a half in the minor leagues before hanging up his cleats.

Christian Cox prepares to make a catch for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The former Aberdeen Roncalli multi-sport standout went on to compete in the minor leagues for the Toronto Blue Jays organization. Photo courtesy of the University of Nebraska

“It was a blast,” Cox said of his baseball career. “It was fun. I got to meet a lot of great people. A lot of lifelong friends. I had great coaches and saw different coaching techniques. Got to travel all over the country. It was fun. I just tried to stay in the moment and enjoy it. I got to see different areas of the country and meet people just (by) playing a game. I was blessed, for sure.”

But as much fun as baseball was for Cox, it couldn’t hold him forever. After retiring from baseball, Cox returned to school for his physician’s assistant degree. He now lives and works in the Wichita, Kan. area.

Still, baseball is etched in his DNA, and he is able to recall his playing days fondly.

“It seems when we do get together, we’ll talk about specific games here and there,” he said. “But even more, we’ll talk about different times on the bus and locker room. You just become friends and you remember more those things about people than you do the way they played the game.”

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