Alou, Felipe Rojas (1935–)
Alou, Felipe Rojas (1935–)
Major league baseball player and manager Felipe Alou was born in 1935 in Bajos de Haina, Dominican Republic. Aside from his professional accomplishments, he has also served as a leading voice on behalf of Latin American players who, like him, faced discrimination and difficulties in adapting to U.S. culture.
Alou was the eldest of five children, two others of whom also played in the big leagues. He grew up in poverty and his day-to-day survival seemed more meaningful than baseball. Though he had hoped for a career in medicine, his ability at baseball ignited a special hunger by which he could both escape his environs and also sustain his family. He signed with the New York Giants in 1955 and was assigned to their minor league system.
In 1958, Alou arrived in the big leagues with the Giants (who by then had moved to San Francisco). A good glove man, he played both infield and outfield and, in 1961, hit 25 home runs, drove in 98, and batted for a .316 average. His brothers Mateo (Matty) and Jesus joined the club in 1960 and 1963, respectively, and in a 1963 game all three played the outfield, a major league first for brothers.
Alou spent the next six seasons with the Braves; in 1966 he hit 31 home runs and finished the season with a .327 batting average, second in the National League to his brother Matty, who took the crown. He finished his playing career in1974. From 1976 to the beginning of the 1992 season, Alou coached and managed in the Montreal Expos' minor league system.
In 1992 the Montreal Expos hired Alou to manage their club and he showed a gift for developing young talent. In 1994 he was named National League Manager of the Year. After being dismissed by the Expos in 2001, he was signed by the San Francisco Giants to manage their club starting with the 2003 season. In his first year, he took the team to a 100-61 won-loss record and the National League West title. Alou managed the Giants through the 2006 whereupon the club replaced him with Bruce Bochey and reassigned the legendary Dominican to a special assignments position with the organization. By then he had compiled a lifetime managing record of 1033 wins to 1021 losses.
Felipe Alou's 1967 autobiography, with Herm Weiskopf, remains one of the more insightful portraits of the trauma Latinos faced in the United States in the 1950s. His 1963 article in Sport magazine regarding the problems and concerns of Latin American ballplayers is an important statement.
See alsoSports .
Alou, Felipe, with Arnold Hano. "Latin American Ballplayers Need a Bill of Rights." Sport 37 (November 1963), 76-79.
Alou, Felipe, with Herm Weiskopf. Felipe Alou: My Life and Baseball. Waco, TX: Word Books, 1967.
Zirin, Dave. "Si Se Puede: Felipe Alou Stands Up to Bigotry." Edge of Sports, August 8, 2005. Available from http://edgeofsports.com/2005-08-08-147/index.html.
Samuel O. Regalado