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Alou is a true Giant of baseball

By Alexander Gimenez - Aug 22, 2013

MIAMI, Fla. -- When the San Francisco Giants rolled into Marlins Park last Friday, they were met by former Giants manager Felipe Alou, who makes his home in South Florida while working as a special assistant to Giants general manager Brian Sabean. The former Giants skipper was getting to see the ball club play live for one of the only times this season.

The Sporting Nation spoke with Alou about everything from the Giants to the state of Hispanics in baseball that from the perspective of one of the greatest Latino players to grace the game through his play on the field and his leadership in the dugout.

In his playing career, Alou was the first Dominican-born player to play regularly in the big leagues where he manned the outfield and first base for six teams across 17 seasons. He finished his career with 206 home runs, 852 RBI and a .286 average. After coaching for many years in the minor leagues for Montreal, he became the first Dominican to manage an MLB team. He has also won over 1,000 games throughout his managerial career.

For a man who helped blaze the trail for Hispanics in Major League Baseball, Alou is pleased with the current state of Hispanics in the game today.

“I don’t believe its ever been better. Numbers and the quality of players, the different countries represented, its great,” Alou said.

Alou was particularly pleased with the renaissance of Cuban-born talent taking the league by storm this year with players like Jose Fernandez and Yasiel Puig joining the ranks of Yoenis Cespedes and Aroldis Chapman who established themselves last year.

“I’m glad to see more and more Cuban guys making it to organized baseball,” said Alou. “Hopefully there’ll be a lot more where a situation will occur that more Cuban players can come over and where Cuba can regain their place (in the game), because there was a time where Cubans were number one (in baseball).”

Felipe is part of one of the most notable families in the history of Major League Baseball, and arguably the most notable Hispanic family to ever grace the game. In September of 1963, Felipe and his brothers Matty and Jesus started a game together, marking the first time three brothers manned all three outfield positions for the same team in a game. Felipe would later coach his son Moises with both the Montreal Expos and the Giants.

“There are so many memories, but managing my son Moises was awesome, and as a player, obviously when the three Alou brothers played and started the same game, that was great,” said Alou about his familial ties in the game.

At 78 years old, Alou still remains active in the game through his role as special assistant to the general manager.

“I’ve been mostly at spring training with the Giants, going around the minor leagues, coming over here when the club plays the Marlins, and going to the winter meetings,” Alou said. “I’m having a good time, I enjoy what I’m doing and while it’s not a whole lot, it’s nice to stay in the game.”

In watching minor league players, the former player himself identifies the talent and depth of the Giants minor league system, specifically when it comes to pitching.

“We have some guys, we’ve always been an organization with great pitching potential. We have 8 or 10 guys, and this is the truth, that will pitch in the big leagues someday,” Alou said about the Giants' wealth of pitching products. 

Alou’s ties to the Giants organization go far beyond his current role with the team. After making his Major League debut with the Giants in 1958, Alou enjoyed a six-year stint in San Francisco and was an All-Star in 1962. In 2003, he returned to the Giants as their manager and led the team to a 100-win season and playoff appearance. He was at the helm through 2006, finishing his time as Giants manager with a 342-304 record. 

For now, Alou will watch as closely as he can, hoping the organization that he’s served for much of his career can turn things around down the final stretch. The Giants were in last place in the NL West on Aug. 22.

“It’s one of those years, it is hard to explain sometimes but it’s hard to keep winning and winning," Alou said. "I don’t think we are a last place team, I think we are going to get out of that and pass a lot of clubs in our division and we’ll see what happens after that."




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