MINNEAPOLIS -- Eddie Murray became the 20th player in history to get 3,000 hits last night, and did two things he rarely does.
He showed his emotions on the field, then he spoke to the media.
"It was nice. It really was," said Murray, Cleveland's designated hitter,
after his milestone hit helped set up the go-ahead run in the Indians' 4-1
victory over the Minnesota Twins before 27,416 at the Metrodome. "But I think
there were people out there happier than I was."
Murray's 3,000th hit came in the sixth inning, as he slapped Mike
Trombley's fastball into right field for a single.
Teammate Dave Winfield, the 19th member of the 3,000-hit club, caught the
moment with his camera.
"I had it with me," Winfield said. "I said, 'Let me give him some mementos.' "
Winfield was the first out of the dugout to greet Murray. The rest of his
teammates mobbed him. Then Murray smiled.
"To see Eddie Murray smile on the field, which was something because he
rarely lets his emotions get out, made me know there was a level of happiness
that was unique," said Ron Shapiro, Murray's longtime agent.
Murray, who walked and flied to center before hitting No. 3,000, is tied
for 19th on the all-time list with Roberto Clemente.
Afterward, Murray downplayed the milestone, but clearly savored it.
"It'll become a lot bigger when I'm done playing," Murray said.
"Three-thousand is a number. It's never anything I've really looked at. Wow."
Murray is the second switch-hitter to reach 3,000 hits. Pete Rose, the
all-time leader with 4,256, is the other. Murray, 39, said he doesn't expect
to catch Rose.
"How many years did he play?" Murray, an 18-year veteran, asked of Rose's
24 seasons. "He's got me. No chance at that one."
Numbers have never been a big thing with Murray. But he said is looking
forward to 500 home runs. He's 31 short, but if he gets there he will join
Hank Aaron and Willie Mays as the only players with 3,000 hits and 500 homers.
"I'm not going to worry myself about it," Murray said, "but it's something
to get there."
Murray said he was more emotional at his first All-Star Game and playing
in the World Series with the Orioles in 1979 and 1983. He seemed more pleased
about retrieving the 33 baseballs preceding his 3,000th hit so he can auction
them off to benefit Cleveland high school baseball.
But friends noticed a glow in Murray. It was a glow that revealed itself
with Murray's post-3,000th-hit, on-field smile.
It was a smile his teammates drew out of him.
"He could let loose around them," said San Diego Padres vice president and
former Orioles public relations director Charles Steinberg. "I'm glad they
surrounded him because he could let loose with emotions."
Murray hits major milestone
Becomes 20th to reach 3,000
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