By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) - Eddie Murray was hired as hitting coach of the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday, returning to the team he played for when he got his 3,000th hit.
Murray had been Baltimore's first-base coach under manager Mike Hargrove the past two seasons. He was the Orioles' bench coach the previous two years under former manager Ray Miller.
"Eddie Murray is one of the most respected and professional individuals in baseball," said Indians general manager Mark Shapiro, whose father, Ron, is Murray's agent. "It's an honor to bring him back to Cleveland."
The Indians had been looking for a hitting instructor since Clarence Jones was fired following the season along with pitching coach Dick Pole and first base/infield coach Ted Uhlaender.
The 45-year-old Murray had been offered a position with Baltimore for next year, but decided to return to Cleveland where he played from 1994 until midway through the '96 season.
In Cleveland, he will be reunited with manager Charlie Manuel, who was the team's hitting instructor while Murray played for the Indians. Now, Murray will be coaching former teammates Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel.
In 1995, Murray became the 20th player to reach 3,000 hits when he singled against Minnesota. Murray, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays are the only players in history to have 500 homers and 3,000 hits.
Murray had a falling out with former Indians GM John Hart during the 1996 season and was traded back to Baltimore before the All-Star break.
Murray played 21 seasons in the majors. Although he was mostly testy with the media, he was always one of the most popular players in the clubhouse.
He was named to eight All-Star teams, including seven with the Orioles. Murray also played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets and Anaheim Angels.
(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)