O#039;s will talk with Murray

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 1, 2003

CLEVELAND - Indians general manager Mark Shapiro gave the Baltimore Orioles permission to interview Hall of Famer Eddie Murray, Cleveland's hitting coach, for their managerial opening.

Murray, a first baseman for Baltimore from 1977-88, just completed his second season as a coach with the Indians. Murray is not yet under contract with Cleveland for a third year, but Shapiro said Murray has been asked to rejoin manager Eric Wedge's staff.

The Orioles fired Mike Hargrove on Monday following their fourth straight losing season. Shapiro said he was contacted by Baltimore on Tuesday.

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Before joining the Indians, one of the five teams he played with, Murray was on Baltimore's coaching staff from 1998-2001. He was Hargrove's first base and outfield coach in 2000-01, and served as Ray Miller's bench coach in 1998-99.

Murray's only managerial experience was with the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League in 1999.

The Orioles also are expected to interview Rick Dempsey as well as Sam Perlozzo, Hargrove's bench coach.

Shapiro thinks Murray would be an excellent big-league manager after seeing him develop as a coach with the young Indians, who used 21 rookies this season and finished with 18 first-year players on their roster.

''He evolved and grew as a hitting coach,'' Shapiro said. ''He had seven, eight and nine rookies in the lineup every day. By the end of the year, he had the majority of them making improvements.''

An amazingly consistent player for 20 seasons, Murray was enshrined in Cooperstown this summer.

He was the AL's Rookie of the Year for Baltimore in 1977 and played for the Orioles until 1988, when he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers after a falling out with Baltimore ownership.

Murray played in his hometown until 1992 before joining the New York Mets. He spent 2 1/2 seasons with the Indians, helping them to the World Series in 1995.

He returned to the Orioles midway through the 1996 season before retiring the next season.