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Thursday, November 03, 2011

Baseball great Matty Alou dies in Miami

Farewell…Matty Alou. I’m crushed.

Santo Domingo.- One of the most inconic Major League Baseball greats from the Dominican Republic, Mateo Rojas Alou (Matty Alou) died early Thursday in Miami of unspecified ailment.

Alou, one of the famous brothers Jesus and Felipe, who all started with the San Francisco Giants in the 1060s, crowned his career while playing with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1969, when he won that National League Batting title with an average of .342.

Dominican Olympic Committee president Luisin Mejia made the announcement on Channel 9 Thursday morning.

Repoz Posted: November 03, 2011 at 02:04 PM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, cardinals, giants, obituaries, padres, pirates, yankees

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   1. Sweatpants Posted: November 03, 2011 at 02:16 PM (#3985672)
It was actually 1966 in which he won the batting title, which made it all the more surprising because he'd had a career average of .260 heading into that season (and a .231 average in 1965).

Sad news.
   2. Spahn Insane Posted: November 03, 2011 at 02:30 PM (#3985681)
Alou, one of the famous brothers Jesus and Felipe,

Ha! I knew there being three MLB-playing Alou brothers was too good to be true. Now, to figure out which of the two Matty was.

RIP.
   3. Bruce Markusen Posted: November 03, 2011 at 02:53 PM (#3985703)
This is really sad news. Matty was one of my favorite players. He used a very unorthodox batting style--a heavy bat, swung off his front foot, blooped a lot of singles to the opposite field--which made him intriguing. In spite of breaking many of the rules of hitting, he batted for a very high average, which coupled with his base stealing ability, made him a useful player.

In his younger days, he was a very good center fielder with range and a good arm, but his throwing became weaker as he went along. He actually played some first base late in his career, despite not being very tall. He could have used a phone book to stand on first base and corral those high throws.

Very sorry to hear that Matty is gone.
   4. Babe Adams Posted: November 03, 2011 at 02:58 PM (#3985710)
Matty is the player I measure my longevity as a fan by. Bill Virdon played center for the Pirates through 1965, and I don't remember him out there. I did follow Matty and the batting title in 1966.
   5. Swoboda is freedom Posted: November 03, 2011 at 03:00 PM (#3985712)
Alou, one of the famous brothers Jesus and Felipe, who all started with the San Francisco Giants in the 1060s

Just before the Battle of Hastings.
   6. Don Malcolm Posted: November 03, 2011 at 03:16 PM (#3985728)
Bruce, I'm thinking that the hitting style you remember for Matty was something that he adopted when he moved to the Pirates. When Matty first came up with the Giants, he was more orthodox, and even hit HRs by finding the Candlestick jet streak (all 6 of his in '61 were at home, in less than 250 total PAs).

That new hitting style must have also helped him with LHP. Through '65, Matty's lifetime BA against LHP was .162. The turnaround is all concentrated in that first season with the Pirates...was it Harry Walker who was the hitting coach then?
   7. Bruce Markusen Posted: November 03, 2011 at 03:20 PM (#3985733)
Don, you're right. I believe it was Harry "The Hat" Walker, who was the Pirates' manager, who worked with Alou on completely re-tooling his batting approach. So yes, Walker deserves a lot of credit, along with Alou, who was open-minded enough to consider something different.

Ted Williams used to say that Alou broke every rule of hitting, but somehow managed to succeed. And unlike Williams, Alou was an extremely aggressive hitter who didn't walk all that much. But the man could hit singles with the best of them.
   8. Mark Armour Posted: November 03, 2011 at 03:30 PM (#3985740)
Harry Walker is the guy usually credited for Alou's breakthrough, yes. He was the manager, but I don't think he had a hitting coach--he was the hitting coach. For many years Alou was the answer to the question "Who was the last NL player to hit .330 for four consecutive seasons?" I believe until Gwynn came along. What was interesting about Alou's stretch is that no one was hitting .330 in those years (1966-1969). Alou was the best of a breed--a singles hitter who did not walk--and this breed for many years personified the cliche about "not walking off the island." He hit like Aparicio, except 60 points higher (and without the stellar shortstop defense, of course).

Because I came of age, baseball-fan wise, in the late 1960s, I think of Matty as a Pirate, Felipe as a Brave, and Jesus as an Astro. But, of course, they all moved around a lot. Charlie Finley picked up each of them during his dynasty, allowing Matty a World Series ring in 1972. Matty and Felipe also teamed up on the 1973 Yankees.

Rest in peace.
   9. Bob Tufts Posted: November 03, 2011 at 03:32 PM (#3985741)
Alou, one of the famous brothers Jesus and Felipe, who all started with the San Francisco Giants in the 1060s

Just before the Battle of Hastings.


His life was saved in the battle by Sir Julio of Franco.
   10. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 03, 2011 at 03:32 PM (#3985743)
A fine ballplayer whom I remember mostly for one specific hit: A bunt single to lead off the 9th inning of the 7th game of the 1962 World Series, which set up the most dramatic ending in World Series history.
   11. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 03, 2011 at 03:39 PM (#3985747)
They could have at least had the courtesy to pass away in proper sequence so the "he's with Jesus now" jokes would work.
   12. Dock Ellis Posted: November 03, 2011 at 03:48 PM (#3985757)
What a wonderful thing it must to have been to share a major league outfield with two of your brothers.
   13. AndrewJ Posted: November 03, 2011 at 03:57 PM (#3985771)
It was actually 1966 in which he won the batting title, which made it all the more surprising because he'd had a career average of .260 heading into that season (and a .231 average in 1965).

I always remember seeing that season on those quintessential Baseball Digest lists like this one...

RIP.
   14. depletion Posted: November 03, 2011 at 04:51 PM (#3985817)
I remember him, too, from the baseball cards and Mets broadcasts of the mid and late '60's. Too bad he didn't get to the Pirates sooner. His BA in 1971 was still good for 8th in the league.
Coolest line: 1970, 718 plate appearances, 18 strike outs!
   15. Walt Davis Posted: November 03, 2011 at 04:57 PM (#3985825)
I'm not sure I want to live in a world without at least 4 Alous.

Somebody please tell me that somewhere in baseball there is an Alou/Rojas relative active.
   16. Babe Adams Posted: November 03, 2011 at 05:58 PM (#3985901)
I'm not sure I want to live in a world without at least 4 Alous.


We still have Felipe, Jesus, Moises, and Boog Powell.
   17. Gary Truth Serum Posted: November 03, 2011 at 06:04 PM (#3985904)
Somebody please tell me that somewhere in baseball there is an Alou/Rojas relative active.

You mean besides Mel Rojas Jr. of the West Virginia Power?
   18. tfbg9 Posted: November 03, 2011 at 08:02 PM (#3985993)
which set up the most dramatic ending in World Series history.


Maz begs to differ.
   19. Mefisto Posted: November 03, 2011 at 08:12 PM (#3986003)
A bunt single to lead off the 9th inning of the 7th game of the 1962 World Series, which set up the most dramatic ending in World Series history.


It was dramatic, though I agree with 18 that Maz was more so. Still, if Chuck Freakin' Hiller could've gotten down a bunt, the outcome might have been very different.

Like you, this was my first memory of Matty. I'm still pissed that the Giants squandered so much outfield talent in those years.
   20. esseff Posted: November 03, 2011 at 08:20 PM (#3986008)
Maz begs to differ.


As do Joe Carter and Bob O'Farrell.
   21. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: November 03, 2011 at 08:27 PM (#3986018)
There may be a historic drought of active Alous in baseball, but Alou phenomenon has travelled overseas.
   22. Cblau Posted: November 04, 2011 at 01:54 AM (#3986206)
Alou, one of the famous brothers Jesus and Felipe, who all started with the San Francisco Giants in the 1060s


Damn, I'm suddenly feeling REALLY old.
   23. Walt Davis Posted: November 04, 2011 at 07:15 AM (#3986303)
You mean besides Mel Rojas Jr. of the West Virginia Power?

Nope, that's plenty good for me assuming he is the son of THE Mel Rojas.

And the Mel is short for Melquiades -- how cool is that?

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