Wednesday, August 04, 2010

#318 Matty Alou

#318 Matty Alou
Ah yes, the Alous, the Molinas of the 1960s and 1970s. All three appear in the 1965 Topps set, and Matty is the first that I've posted on the blog.

Fun facts about Matty Alou:

-Born in Bajos de Haina in the Dominican Republic, Matty signed with the Giants in 1957.

-As mentioned above, he was the middle child of three brothers who were all major-league outfielders. His older brother was Felipe, and Jesus was the younger. They were teammates for the 1963 Giants. The family tree also includes cousin Jose Sosa, who pitched for the Astros in the mid-1970s, and nephews Moises Alou (outfielder from 1990-2008) and Mel Rojas (pitcher from 1990-1999)!

-After a cup of coffee with San Francisco in 1961, he made the club as a 22-year-old part-timer the following season and hit .310 in 200 at-bats.

-Matty's offensive output dwindled during his years with the Giants, and he was traded to the Pirates after the 1965 season.

-Paired with famed hitting instructor Harry "the Hat" Walker, Alou was rejuvenated in Pittsburgh. In his first year there he led the league with a .342 average, beating out brother Felipe by .015.

-In all, had four straight top-four finishes in the N.L. batting race, hitting .335 over that span. Swatted an impressive .332 in 1968 when the league hit .243 collectively and made the first of two straight All-Star teams. Paced the Senior Circuit with 41 doubles and 231 hits in 1969.

-He was largely a slap hitter; in his lone full season in St. Louis (1971), he set career highs with seven homers and 74 RBI. The home runs represented 22.5% of his career total, and there was only one other season in which he topped 50 RBI.

-Was a helpful pennant-drive addition for the 1972 A's, hitting .281 in 32 games and following up with a .381 average (8-for-21) and four doubles in the ALCS. He eked out just one hit in 24 World Series at-bats, but Oakland triumphed over the Reds anyway.

-Also spent time with the Yankees and Padres before finishing his career with three seasons in Japan as a Taiheiyo Club Lion. In parts of 15 major league seasons he batted .307 with 31 home runs and 427 RBI.

-In 2007, Matty was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame along with current-day shortstop and Venezuelan native Omar Vizquel.
#318 Matty Alou (back)

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