Jan 22, 2020

Felipe Alou: Former MLB Player/ Manager & New Mets Manager's Dad

Felipe Rojas Alou was born on May 12th, 1935 in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. He is a pioneer in the sense that although he is not the first Dominican player to get to the majors, he is the first to play on a regular basis.

The six foot right hand hitter, was the oldest of the famous Alou brothers, who all had fine MLB careers. His other two brothers are Matty & Jesus.

As a child living in poverty, Felipe dreamed of one day being a doctor to escape the life he knew. Although he was known as a javelin thrower in his country, it was baseball & his athletic ability that would make him a star.

Felipe was originally signed by the New York Giants in 1955 & got to the big leagues three years later. The team was now relocated from New York to San Francisco. 

By 1961 he was the Giants main right fielder, playing alongside future Hall of Famer, Willie Mays & & batting behind another Hall of Famer, Willie McCovey, who was the Giants' first baseman.

That season Felipe's younger brother, Matty also became a member of the Giants outfield. Matty would play for the Giants from 1960-1965. In 1966 he went to the Pittsburgh Pirates & won a batting title, while batting .342. He was a life time .307 hitter.

Trivia: In a historic Giants game in 1963, all three Alou brothers would be in the Giants outfield & be in the batting order. 

In 1962 Felipe Alou hit .316 (7th in the NL) his first .300 season. That year, manager Alvin Dark used the versatile Alou all over his lineup. He answered with 30 doubles (7th in the NL) 25 HRs & a career high 98 RBIs, making his first All Star game.

That season the Giants won the NL pennant, beating out their rival Los Angeles Dodgers, in a best of three playoff series. 

1962 Playoffs: The Giants rallied in the top of the 9th inning, of the third game, after being down 4-2, with a four run inning. Matty Alou, led off with a base hit & Felipe then drew a walk.

Both brothers scored, with Felipe scoring the winning run, after Stan Williams walked Jim Davenport with the bases loaded. An insurance run scored as future Met, Larry Burright made an error at second base on a Jose Pagan grounder.

1962 World Series: In the World Series he hit safely in five of the seven games batting .259.

In 1963, Felipe was involved in a big trade with the Milwaukee Braves, going to Milwaukee with Ed Bailey & Billy Hoeft in exchange for Del Crandall, & two future Mets, Bob Hendley & Bob Shaw.

As a Brave, Felipe would play with Hall of Fame team mates Hank Aaron & Eddie Mathews. Other star Braves included, Joe Torre, Rico Carty & Orlando Cepeda.

In 1966, the Braves franchise moved to Atlanta & it was there Felipe would have his best years. In 1966 he led the league in hits (218) runs scored (122) & at bats (666). He hit .327 runner up to his brother Matty, for the NL batting title (.342)

Felipe hit .274 the next season & followed with a huge 1968 campaign, when he made his last All Star game appearance, as a player. He would hit .317 (third best in the NL) Leading the league in hits (210) at bats (668) & plate appearances (718). He hit 11 HRs with 57 RBIs & 72 runs scored. His numbers began to decline from this point on.

His last season in Atlanta, was in the 1969 season, as the club won the NL Western Title. In the first NLCS ever played, he went just 0-1 appearing as a pinch hitter against Nolan Ryan & the New York Mets, in Game#3.

Alou would play in Oakland with the A's (1970-1971) then go to the AL New York club in their dark days of 1972-1973. He then played with the Montreal Expos (1973) & Milwaukee Brewers (1974).

In his 17 year playing career, he batted .286 with 2101 hits 359 doubles 49 triples 206 HRs 852 RBIs 107 stolen bases 985 runs scored & a .328 on base %. 

In the outfield he played1531 games at all three positions making 322 assists posting a .986 fielding %, making just 96 errors in 1586 innings.

Retirement: After his playing career he began a long career with the Montreal Expos in 1976. 

At first, he was a minor league batting coach soon getting promoted to manager. He eventually got to the big league Expos team & made it to bench coach in 1991.

MLB Manager: By 1992 he was promoted to the teams manager, replacing Tom Runnels, becoming the first Dominican born MLB manager.

Alou would become the most successful manager in Expos history taking the club to a first place finish & three second place finishes as well.

In 1993 his Expos won 94 games but finished second to the Philadelphia Phillies by three games. 

Best Expo Team: In 1994 with his son Moises Alou as the clubs hitting star along with Cliff Floyd, Larry Walker & Pedro Martinez, the Expos were riding high in first place. Unfortunately the players strike ended the season & no post season games were played.

In 1996 the club finished second for the last time, before falling to four straight fourth place finishes. 

After the 2001 season he was let go by owner Jeffrey Loria who would move himself & his staff, to take over the Florida Marlins. Alou retired & did not want to return to baseball. He eventually gave in, accepting to be bench coach for he Detroit Tigers.

Manager Again: In 2003 he moved on to manage the San Francisco Giants, replacing Dusty Baker who had gotten the club to the seventh game of the World Series the previous year.

It was that year Alou's team won 100 games, a career high for him as manager, finishing in first place. But he lost the NLCS to his former boss Loria & the Florida Marlins in the playoffs.

In 2004 the Giants finished in second place with another 90 plus win season (91). 

In 2005 his son Moises joined him for the second time in their respective careers as manager & player. 

In 2006, Felipe Alou was Barry Bonds manager, as the controversial player (sort of) broke Hank Aaron's all time HR mark. That was Alou's last season as manger. 

In his managerial career he is 1033-1021 (.503) in ten seasons. He was 342-304 in San Francisco, taking the Giants to one post season with a 1-3 record.

After his managerial stint with the Giants, he remained in the organization as a special assistant to the GM.

Personal: Felipe has been married four times & always considered himself a family man. As a young man, he married Maria Beltre from his hometown & had four children with her, including Moises. He next married a girl from Atlanta, Beverly Martin & had three girls with her. 

He then married Elsa, also from the Dominican & had two more children, including Mets manager Luis Rojas. In his fifties he married Lucie Gagnon, a French Canadaian woman & had two more kids. Overall, Felipe Alou is father to 11 children. 

While playing with the Giants he was introduced to Christianity by pitcher, Al Worthington & yet again, later by team mate, Lindy McDaniel.

Felipe has been honored on endless occasions & has written a book, My Baseball Journey.

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