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Former Sox infielder Doug Griffin dead at 69

Doug Griffin played for the Red Sox from 1971-77.
Doug Griffin played for the Red Sox from 1971-77.(Frank O'Brien/Globe Staff/File)

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Former Red Sox second baseman Doug Griffin, a Gold Glove winner whose career was cut short after being hit in the head by a pitch from Nolan Ryan, died on Wednesday. He was 69.

Griffin, the team said, died after a long illness in Clovis, Calif.

Known as “Dude,” Griffin was drafted by the California Angels in 1965 and made his major league debut in 1970. He was traded to the Red Sox a few weeks after that season, part of a deal that included the Angels receiving Tony Conigliaro.

Griffin was the Red Sox’ primary second baseman from 1971-73. His defensive prowess was such that Griffin was fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1971 and won a Gold Glove in 1972.

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Griffin was an excellent bunter and played second base fearlessly, hanging in for double plays during an era when runners were permitted to bowl over infielders.

Griffin was knocked unconscious on April 30, 1974, when he was hit by a pitch from Ryan during a game at Fenway Park. He was on the disabled list until June 1 with a concussion and hearing loss.

A career .245 hitter, Griffin hit .229 after the beaning with one home run in 660 at-bats.

Griffin was displaced at second base by Denny Doyle in 1975 and became a platoon player. He did not play in the American League Championship Series and pinch hit once in the World Series that year.

Griffin appeared in only 49 games in 1976 and was released in 1977 after playing five games. In all, Griffin played in 614 games for the Sox. In team history, only Bobby Doerr, Dustin Pedroia, Hobe Ferris, Marty Barrett, and Jerry Remy have played more games at second base.

Griffin had a close relationship with Carl Yastrzemski, the two often going fishing during his time with the Red Sox.

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Griffin is survived by his wife, Lorraine Bernard; his children, Chad and Natalie; six granddaughters; his 92-year-old mother, Lillian Griffin; and three sisters.

Red Sox infielder Doug Griffin turns a double play in the 6th inning against the Indians at Fenway Park on April 20, 1974.
Red Sox infielder Doug Griffin turns a double play in the 6th inning against the Indians at Fenway Park on April 20, 1974.(Frank O'Brien/Globe Staff/File)

Peter Abraham can be reached at peter.abraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.