Alou in 1971
|Born: December 22, 1938|
Haina, Dominican Republic
|Died: November 3, 2011 (aged 72)|
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
|September 26, 1960, for the San Francisco Giants|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 21, 1974, for the San Diego Padres|
|Runs batted in||427|
|Career highlights and awards|
Mateo "Matty" Rojas Alou (December 22, 1938 – November 3, 2011) was a Dominican former professional baseball player and manager. He played as an outfielder in Major League Baseball from 1960 to 1974. He also played in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) with the Taiheiyo Club Lions from 1974 through 1976. Alou was a two-time All-Star player who is notable for being the 1966 National League batting champion.
Alou was the middle of a trio of baseball-playing brothers that included the older Felipe and younger Jesús. They were the first set of three siblings to play together in the same outfield (on September 15). and all bat in the same half-inning in the majors (September 10), accomplishing both with the Giants in 1963. Matty had been teammates with Felipe during the prior three campaigns, and was likewise with Jesús for the following two. Matty and Felipe later reunited with the Yankees in 1973.
Alou's best years as a player were spent with the Pirates, where he won the National League (NL) batting title in 1966 and was a two-time All-Star in 1968 and 1969. He was a member of a World Series Champion with the Athletics in 1972 and a NL pennant winner with the Giants in 1962.
Alou was born in Haina, Dominican Republic. He was a platoon player for the Giants for several years and was mostly unremarkable. His finest moment in San Francisco came in 1962 when his pinch-hit bunt single in the final game of a three-game tie-breaking playoff against the Los Angeles Dodgers began the rally that won the game and the pennant for the Giants. He batted .333 in the Giants' losing effort against the Yankees in the 1962 World Series. While he was primarily an outfielder, Alou also appeared in one game in 1965 as a pitcher, pitching two scoreless innings.
After Alou was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates before the 1966 season, he received instruction from expert hitting instructor Harry "the Hat" Walker that helped turn him into a formidable hitter and an integral member of a Pirates team which, included future Baseball Hall of Fame members Roberto Clemente, Bill Mazeroski and Willie Stargell. The Pirates fought the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants in a tight pennant race and were in first place on September 10, before they faltered to finish the season in third place for a second consecutive year. Alou won the 1966 batting title with a .342 average, with his brother Felipe finishing second.
He finished in the top five in hitting four more times after that in 1967-1969, 1971. His best year was 1969, when he led the major leagues in at-bats (698), doubles (41), and hits (231). His 231 hits in 1969 remain the highest total by any National League player since Joe Medwick, with 237, in 1937.
On June 23, 2007, the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame inducted Matty Alou into their Hall of Fame during an on-field, pre-game ceremony at AT&T Park before a game between the San Francisco Giants and the New York Yankees. He, along with San Francisco Giants shortstop Omar Vizquel were inducted in front of over 43,000 fans.
Matty Alou died in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic as the result of diabetic complications, according to his former Dominican team, Leones del Escogido. The Giants also confirmed his death and said Alou had been suffering for several years with a variety of health issues.