Boyce Cox, the longtime executive of the Bristol franchise in the Appalachian League, passed away as the result of a stroke on March 17. He has been credited by many in his hometown area with saving professional baseball in Bristol after a period of several years of low
He was named as president of the Bristol franchise in 1983 and was still working as the franchise's general manager at the time of his death. He had previously been honored by the city by its officially naming the Bristol facility as "Boyce Cox Field at DeVault Memorial Stadium."
His time in professional baseball actually started as a player for a New York Giants' farm team that was located in Bristol at the time.
Baseball was always a centerpiece in his life as he served in the U.S. Navy's Sports Department in World War II, and he also played a large role in the development of Little League Baseball in Bristol as well as served as the area's Little League district administrator.
In the 25 years since he was first named President of the Bristol professional franchise, he was named the Appalachian League's "Executive of the Year" multiple times and served on numerous league committees that were all geared toward the continual improvement of the league as a whole.
"One of the pillars of this league," Appalachian League President Lee Landers said of Cox. "He was a mentor for everyone in this area and a chairman for every committee you could think of in this league."
Obviously, Cox was well-liked among his fellow league general managers.
"It's a tremendous loss. He's been the mainstay of this league," observed Bluefield Orioles' president/GM George McGonagle, who also added that Cox had a lot of fans and followers from the Bluefield area.
"If the Appalachian League had a version of Mount Rushmore, when you take our entire league history into account, it would be easy to say that one of the four images up on the side of that mountain would be of Boyce Cox. His influence in one way or another is probably stamped on every franchise in this league," added Jim Holland, general manager of
the Princeton Devil Rays.
Funeral services for Cox will be conducted on the afternoon of March 20 in Bristol, TN.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.