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Friday, March 10, 2023

Longtime major leaguer Jesus Alou dies at 80

Alou recently suffered two cardiovascular accidents, but he hadn’t been diagnosed with a serious illness, a family source told ESPN’s Enrique Rojas.

Alou spent 15 seasons in the majors with the Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics, New York Mets and San Francisco Giants. He won both of his World Series titles as a bench player for the Athletics.

Alou is the youngest of the legendary trio of Dominican brothers who played together in the majors.

Felipe, Matty and Jesus Alou made history as the only brothers to play in the same outfield Sept. 15, 1963, playing for the Giants in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Forbes Field. Felipe was part of the starting lineup, while Matty and Jesus entered as replacements.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 10, 2023 at 09:48 PM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: jesus alou, obituaries

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: March 11, 2023 at 01:32 AM (#6120131)
Oh no. Alous should live forever. He was the first human Jesus I was aware of -- it seemed kinda sacrilegious to me at 8 although my brother explained it was a common name in Latin America. I imagine the conversation went something like "you can't name a baby after Jesus." "Why not?" "Ummm ...."

And appropriately his birthday of March 24 falls near opening day (now). I've been wishing FB friends Happy AlouMas these last few years.

As far as I know, none of the Alou/Rojas clan are in the majors these days -- are there any in the minors at least? MLB needs a rule that there is always at least one in the majors. Highest payroll team has to carry an Alou on the 26-person roster at all times.

Felipe is 87. Matty passed away in 2011.
   2. Howie Menckel Posted: March 11, 2023 at 08:39 AM (#6120140)
imagine the conversation went something like "you can't name a baby after Jesus."

this was my Irish Catholic mother.

she was a huge baseball fan and was not pleased by seeing this name flash on the screen.

then again, when I had a huge growth spurt in high school - grew more than a foot - she did not accept my claim that I was exactly 6-feet tall. She said, "Only Jesus was exactly 6-feet tall."

"Well, now there's two of us!" was my cheeky reply.

RIP, Jesus.

both of them.
   3. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: March 11, 2023 at 09:27 AM (#6120143)
In one of my OOTP universes, John Lennon got into hot water for saying the Beatles were "bigger than Jesus". He later clarified that they were taller than "Jesus Alou, Matty's brother". (Alou was later quoted as saying, with mock seriousness, "The way things are going, they're gonna crucify him.")

   4. BDC Posted: March 11, 2023 at 09:32 AM (#6120144)
Jesus Alou was always thought of as a really good "professional hitter" and stuck around a long time as a pinch hitter. If you look at his overall batting stats: career OPS+ of 86, career Rbat -59, etc., those don't bear that out.

Although … Alou hit .272 as a pinch-hitter, against .280 overall. During his career (1963-79) league pinch-hitting BA went from around .210 in the mid-1960s to .235 in the late 1970s, against .245 to .260 overall. He seems usually to have been about 50 points in BA better than the typical PH. Does that have more value than it first might seem? I have no idea, but he was clearly a pretty good pinch-hitter in an era that saw a lot of pinch-hitting. And a fun baseball card to collect :) RIP.
   5. sanny manguillen Posted: March 11, 2023 at 09:58 AM (#6120151)

Jesus seems to have been sustained in the major by the pinch hitting, and by never having the disastrous season. Batted .248 or better for 15 straight seasons.
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: March 11, 2023 at 10:00 AM (#6120155)
He seems usually to have been about 50 points in BA better than the typical PH. Does that have more value than it first might seem?

I think so. You can choose the PA spots where a hit is much more valuable than a hit.

   7. bookbook Posted: March 11, 2023 at 10:14 AM (#6120159)
I was about 40 when I first understood that “Jesus” was just a bad Greek translation of the historical “Yeshua” (Joshua).

Granny may not have been pleased to see the player, Josh Satin, appear on her TV screen.
   8. Rally Posted: March 11, 2023 at 02:16 PM (#6120189)
In my simulation league, I picked up a hard throwing failed starter in 1995. Name was Jesus Gomez. Made him my closer and he had a 2.30 ERA and 45 saves.

I had three Jawas on that team, the toys were placed above my computer and all holding signs that read “Jesus Saves”.
   9. Howie Menckel Posted: March 11, 2023 at 02:44 PM (#6120192)
“Jesus Saves”

a popular 1970s bumper sticker in Boston:

   10. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: March 11, 2023 at 06:08 PM (#6120200)
In the New Historical Baseball Abstract, Bill James claimed that he once saw graffiti that read thusly:

(different writing) What is the question?
(yet different writing) Who was Felipe and Matty's brother?
   11. Walt Davis Posted: March 12, 2023 at 06:17 PM (#6120268)
#4 and #6 ... I assume that was above-average for a PH (it's always been hard) although with no power and an atrocious walk rate, it still might have worked out to an average PH overall. But the other problem is that he wasn't THAT much of a PH specialist and mainly at the end of his career. From 21-29 his most PH appearances in a season was 18. Even from 32-35, it was about 45 appearances a year -- given it was the NL and you still had to PH for the P a lot not to mention the 220 hitting SSs, 1 every 4 games doesn't seem that much.

Anyway for his career, it was "just" 337 PH appearances -- I'm sure that's a lot comparatively but balanced by nearly 1000 starts, nearly 4600 career PA and 8400 innings in the field, good PHing simply can't tip the scales very much. Possibly his 1 career WAR all comes from good PHing and the rest of the time he was replacement level. (I assume Rpos has some PH adjustment in it, otherwise he might deserve an extra win.)

I forget where but heard a good Jesus line the other day -- "what does it say about a guy that he can turn water into wine but still has only 12 friends."

But I never knew Jesus was 6 feet tall, much less exactly so. Seems curious since "feet" weren't a unit of measurement yet and, when you think of human history and how many countries there are, barely used at all really (is it official anywhere but the US anymore?) Once on the work online bulletin board somebody posted some silliness about "this month has 5 weekends, this happens only once every thousand years and Feng Shui says this is a time for great fortune." I pointed out that 5 weekend months happen all the time and how odd I found it that an ancient Chinese religion was using the Gregorian calendar.

   12. sunday silence (again) Posted: March 12, 2023 at 08:02 PM (#6120270)
Hello Walt: I wish you would have stayed with the PH WAR thing a bit more. 337 is a lot of PH appearances. As a comparison Manny MOta had the PH record (149 or 150 per wikipedia) until recent times. Mota 497 AB or so. So 337 is a lot.

Could Alou be worth one WAR for career PHing?

Assuming PH in Alou's time were hitting .220, BRef credits him with 312 AB then we would expect an average PH to collect 68.6 hits. But how much war is that? Assuming 337 ab is half a season then he PH approx half a real season. And how much value is there in batting versus fielding? Im guessing about 3:1. So if a full league average season is 2 WAR then half season of batting only would be .75 WAR.

OK But Alou exceeded that. He had 85 hits (BRef gives 1 HR but doesnt break it down further). Assuming these were all singles its almost 17 hits above average. x .45 runs weighted, 7.65 runs. Add that to the base value of an average PH (.75 WAR) to get something like 1.5 WAR for PH alone. He averaged 5% extra base hits vs a league average 4% doubles so maybe he had 3 more doubles than avg PH? 2 more runs. So perhaps 1.7 WAR.

So by that method, ALou was worth 1.7 WAR. But of course BRef doesnt necessarily give you a "bonus" like that for PH. Alou's actual career WAR per BRef is 0.8 WAR. Possibly unfair.

Then you have the whole issue of whether we should give a PH bonus. Presumably player who PH are not good enuf to play the field on a regular basis. But then we now know that even DH guys who regularly play the field struggle to hit as a DH as well as they would when playing regularly.

So its interesting.
   13. sunday silence (again) Posted: March 12, 2023 at 08:19 PM (#6120271)
what about Mota with 497 AB thats more like 75% of a season. So value of average batting .75 season is something like 1.1 WAR.

assuming PH bat .230 in MOta's time, then we would expect 114 hits, MOta exceeded that by 35 hits. if those are all singles thats 15.75 runs. Maybe one or two doubles? Call it 16 runs. Add that to the base value of 1.1 WAR we get 2.7 WAR.

WOw! Mota is like a 2.7 WAR PH vs Alou's 1.5.

EDIT probably wrong to credit ALou for two more runs for doubles since most of that was already subsumed when we assumed all his extra hits were singles. So maybe 0.6 runs for 2 extra doubles? I'll leave it at 1.5 WAR
   14. Mefisto Posted: March 12, 2023 at 08:24 PM (#6120272)
They should have saved Jesus to bat against Koufax. He just raked Koufax.
   15. The Honorable Ardo Posted: March 12, 2023 at 09:07 PM (#6120274)
his birthday of March 24
I thought Jesus was born on December 25th? (ducks)

The March 24th birthday team has few superstars, but boasts solid contributors at every roster spot:

C Bob Tillman
1B George Sisler
2B Starlin Castro
SS Garry Templeton
3B Mike Mowrey
LF Kip Selbach
CF Roy Thomas
RF Corey Hart
4th OF/PH Jesus Alou

Pitching staff:
Bruce Hurst
Ernie Shore
Wilson Alvarez
Bob McClure
Ron Robinson
Saul Rogovin
Dustin McGowan
Chad Gaudin
Steve Karsay
Jose Valverde
   16. baxter Posted: March 12, 2023 at 09:15 PM (#6120276)
Anyone remember when Jesus Alou swallowed his tongue, almost dying on the field? trainer saved him.
   17. bachslunch Posted: March 13, 2023 at 09:15 AM (#6120291)
There's also the old Boston-based quip regarding bearded and long-haired Johnny Damon when he wouldn't re-sign with the Red Sox and opted to play for the Yankees instead: "Looks like Jesus, acts like Judas, throws like Mary."
   18. Traderdave Posted: March 13, 2023 at 09:59 AM (#6120293)
Boog Powell mourns his brother
   19. Walt Davis Posted: March 13, 2023 at 03:15 PM (#6120317)
#12 ... OK, whatever. My point is 337 PA in a career of 4600 PA isn't going to tip the scales a whole lot. Maybe Alou was 1 WAR in those 4600 PA. Maybe he was 2, maybe he was 2.2473. That doesn't change our perception of Jesus Alou the ballplayer.

Alou career PH: 272/317/308
1978 NL avg PH: 240/326/346
1979 NL avg PH: 234/311/325
1972 NL avg PH: 204/284/276

I first chose 1978 because that was Alou's best year as a PH. The league average looked a little high so I added 1979 which was his last year. Those are also 2 of the 5 years he made his most PH appearances, his years as a true specialist. Still they still looked high so I added 1972 which is more what we were thinking (FWIW, Alou hit 258/343/258 that year).

Once we bring Alou's lack of power and walks into it, it's not clear he was much better than the average PH. Of course maybe he was successfully leveraged into spots where a single was what was needed most but that's more a WPA argument than a WAR argument.

Anyway, the key point is that, unless he hit like Babe Ruth, it doesn't matter much what he did in those 337 PH appearances balanced against the 4200+ regular lineup PAs. That doesn't mean he didn't deserve a roster spot in those last 4 seasons.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: March 13, 2023 at 03:22 PM (#6120320)
Bringing up the question of "what does 337 PAs of Babe Ruth give you":

91 H, 22.5 HR, 65 BB
   21. sunday silence (again) Posted: March 14, 2023 at 09:42 AM (#6120392)
Thats interesting
   22. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 14, 2023 at 11:03 AM (#6120395)
So, it’s been three days…
   23. Mefisto Posted: March 14, 2023 at 11:22 AM (#6120398)
Right time of year too.
   24. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: March 14, 2023 at 11:29 AM (#6120399)
So, it’s been three days…

Someone find out if Steve Stone has moved.
   25. sunday silence (again) Posted: March 14, 2023 at 06:44 PM (#6120432)
My point is 337 PA in a career of 4600 PA isn't going to tip the scales a whole lot. Maybe Alou was 1 WAR in those 4600 PA. Maybe he was 2, maybe he was 2.2473. That doesn't change our perception of Jesus Alou the ballplayer.

Yeah, I think I knew that before we even began this analysis.

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