In an expected move but one heralded none-the-less, new Tribe manager Manny Acta put the last piece in place on his coaching staff Tuesday morning, naming Jon Nunnally the Indians hitting coach.
A newer name to the organization in having spent just the last three years as a hitting coach in the Indians farm system, Nunnally is not that far removed from playing. The 38-year-old retired after the 2006 season, then quickly jumped into coaching by spending the next two seasons teaching hitting at high Class-A Kinston.
Nunnally began to become a household name within the organization last year while serving as the hitting coach for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. Whenever a young player was struggling to hit, he was sent to "Nuns", who quickly diagnosed the problem and helped the batter get back to form.
Two of Nunnally's biggest fans were Indians catcher/utility man Chris Gimenez and Tribe third baseman/first baseman Andy Marte.
When Marte was called up to the Indains last season and asked how he'd turned around his career so fast after being taken off the Indians 40-man roster then not climed on waivers the previous off season, Marte smiled and quickly said, "Jon Nunnally is one of the main reasons I am here today."
Under Nunnally's tutelage last season, the Clippers led the International League in batting average (.275) and placed a pair of players in Marte and outfielder Jordan Brown on the Triple-A All-Star team.
In Nunnally's first season with the K-Tribe in 2007, the team led the Carolina League in batting average and runs scored. The next season, former first-round pick and slugger Beau Mills earned the Carolina League MVP award with Nunnally's guidance.
The Virginia native played professionally for 15 years (1992-2006) with seven different organizations, spending parts of six seasons at the Major League level with Kansas City (1995-97), Cincinnati (’97-’98), Boston (’99) and the New York Yankees (’00).
Nunnally, who was drafted by the Indians in the third round in 1992, compiled a career average of .246 in the major leagues with 47 doubles, 12 triples, 42 home runs and 125 RBI in 364 games.