Matty Alou, brother of Felipe and Jesús Alou died Thursday in his native Dominican Republic at the age of 72. Alou and his brothers all played the outfield for the San Francisco Giants together in 1963, the first trio of brothers to do so.
According to Leones del Escogido, Alou's former Dominican team, he died of diabetes complications. The Giants, Alou's first major league team, said he had been sick for several years with a variety of health issues.
Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda, a good friend of Alou's, also knew Alou was ailing.
We roomed together a few times with the Giants, Cepeda said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. Very funny guy, hell of a ballplayer. When Matty was playing with the Giants, he was a dead fastball hitter, he could pull anybody, I don't care how hard they threw.
Alou was born in the Dominican Republic on Dec. 22, 1938. He signed with the New York Giants in 1957, joining his older brother Felipe, who had been signed two years earlier. Younger brother Jesus was signed in 1958, at just age 16.
However, it wasn't until the end of the 1960 season that Alou made his Major League debut with the Giants. He ended up playing with Felipe through 1963, after which Felipe was traded to the Milwaukee Braves. Alou, Felipe and Jesús played together briefly, after Jesús reached the big leagues in 1963 and just before Felipe was traded. Coincidentally, Alou and Felipe played together again with the Yankees in 1973.
Besides being the first trio of brothers to play in the outfield together while with the Giants in 1963, they were also the first to bat in the same half-inning. The Alous combined to play in 47 Major League seasons.
During a 15-year baseball career, Alou played for the San Francisco Giants (1960-65), Pittsburgh Pirates (1966-70), St. Louis Cardinals (1971-72), Oakland Athletics (1972), New York Yankees (1973), and San Diego Padres (1974). It was with the Pittsburgh Pirates, following a December 1965 trade, that he had his best pro season: he raised his average more than 110 points from the previous year under the tutelage of hitting coach Harry The Hat Walker. Alou went on to win the 1966 NL batting title with a .342 average.
A statement from the Giants on Alou's passing summed up his career best:
The Giants were deeply saddened to learn about the passing of former Giants outfielder Matty Alou. Matty, who was a formidable player during his career, was a lifetime .307 hitter who collected 1,777 hits over 15 seasons, six with the Giants from 1960-65. He was a two-time All-Star and won the 1966 National League batting title with a .342 average while playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Although he played for six different teams, Matty remained a part of the Giants family as a long time employee and will be forever linked with his brothers - Felipe and Jesus - as the first all-brother Major League outfield.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Alou Family during this difficult time.
Alou also had 31 home runs, 427 RBIs, 236 doubles, 50 triples and 136 stolen bases.
Felipe Alou, who managed the Giants for four seasons from 2003-06, takes pride in how he and his brothers made history.
It's a family legacy, Felipe said during his time managing the Giants. The Alou legacy is a legacy in itself. I see all of us together being a force going through this game, and still going. The respect, I'm proud of that, and length of service.
Leones president Luis Manuel Bonetti said that Dominican baseball in general and Leones in particular, has lost one of its most emblematic figures and an extraordinary human being.
Moises Alou, Felipe's son and a former San Francisco Giant from 2005 and 2006, is currently general manager of Leones.
A memorial service was held Thursday and Alou was scheduled to be buried Friday. He is survived by his wife, Maria Teresa, three children - Mateo Jr., Teresa and Matias - and four grandchildren. In addition, he is survived by five siblings: brothers Felipe, Jesus and Jose, and sisters Zula and Virginia.