Thursday, November 3, 2011

Matty Alou 1938-2011

It was announced today that one of the foundations of Dominican Baseball in the Major Leagues passed away at the age of 72. A member of the famous Alou brothers, Mateo "Matty" Rojas Alou was one of the early players from the Dominican Republic to play in the Majors. Alou was signed as a free agent by the New York Giants in 1957 and spent four seasons playing within the minor leagues. Alou would make his debut for the San Francisco Giants on September 26, 1960. Alou had a 15-year career in the majors playing for the San Francisco Giants (1960-65), Pittsburgh Pirates (1966-70), The St. Louis Cardinals (1971-72, 1973), Oakland Athletics (1972), New York Yankees (1973) and the San Diego Padres (1974).

Alou was a spray hitter with very little power. Though he led the National League with a .342 batting average during the 1966 season, his best season in the majors was was 1969 when batted .332 and had 48 RBI. In a league leading 698 at-bats (746 plate appearances), Alou led the league with 231 hits (41 2B/6 3B/1HR), 42 walks, 35 stikeouts and 22 stolen bases (in 30 attempts). Alou played every game of the 1969 season starting 160 of those games in Center-field (1 in Left-field). In total, he wasa 2-time All-Star who ended his career with 1,777 hits and a .307 batting average.

Upon his retirement in 1974, Alou took his talents to Japan playing three seasons with the then Taiheiyo Club Lions of the Nippon Baseball League (1973–1976). He also spent a considerable time playing for notably the Leones of Escogido in the Dominican Winter Leagues.

In an interesting twist, my college in the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, William Tasker of the Flagrant Fan seems to have debunked a myth surrounding the Alou Brothers. It has been believed that the three brothers started a game together in the same outfield during the 1963 season. Through researching box scores from that year, he seems to have proven it to the contrary. Give the article a read: Did All Three Alou Brothers Really Start the Same Game?

I can remember growing up and my mom telling me stories of lo famoso hermanos Alou of which Matty was the middle brother between Felipe and Jesus. En paz descanse hermano. Gracias en ser un orgullo Dominicano.

FH

For Further Reading:
- Click Here for Matty Alou's Major League career statistics from Baseball0-Reference.com
-Click Here to access Matty Alou's career Minor and Major League statistics from Baseball-Cube.com
- Click Here to access Freddy Tapia's article Fallece el destacado pelotero Mateo de la trilogía Rojas Alou from the Listin Diario website dated November 3, 2011