Quiet Man with a Booming Bat

 

Homer Happy: Felipe Alou

Through the early and mid-1960s, Felipe Alou was a durable player with a productive bat for two of the National League’s best offensive teams: the San Francisco Giants and the Braves in both Milwaukee and Atlanta. In his prime, he consistently hit for average and power, complementing the Hall of Fame sluggers who surrounded him in those teams’ batting orders.

Felipe Alou hit 31 home runs for the Milwaukee Braves in 1965.

Felipe Alou hit 31 home runs for the Milwaukee Braves in 1965.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Alou was signed by the New York Giants in 1955. He made his debut with the San Francisco Giants in 1958 and was a starting outfielder with the Giants by 1961, when he hit .289 with 18 home runs and 52 RBIs. In the Giants’ pennant-winning season of 1962, Alou hit .316 with 25 home runs and 98 RBIs.

Following the 1963 season, Alou was traded with catcher Ed Bailey and pitcher Billy Hoeft to the Milwaukee Braves for catcher Del Crandall and pitchers Bob Hendley and Bob Shaw. After struggling through the 1964 season, he bounced back in 1965, hitting .327 with 31 home runs and 74 RBIs. That season he led the National League in hits (218) and runs (122). He also led the league in hits with 210 in 1968, batting .317.

Felipe Alou’s .327 batting average in 1965 was second in the National League to brother Matty Alou. He led the league in both hits and runs.

Alou’s offensive numbers declined steadily after that, as he made stops in Oakland, New York (Yankees), Montreal and the Milwaukee Brewers, retiring three games into the 1974 season. He was the brother of two other major leaguers, Matty and Jesus, as well as the father of Moises Alou. He spent 14 seasons as a manager for the Montreal Expos and the Giants, and as the Expos’ skipper was named Manager of the Year in 1994.

In 17 major league seasons, Alou batted .286 with 2,101 hits and 206 home runs. His 165 home runs during the 1960s put him at number 32 among major league sluggers of that decade.

 

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