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Three Brothers in the Same Outfield

March 16, 2023

Hugh Atkins

I was saddend to learn that former major league outfielder Jesús Alou passed away. Even though Alou was a serviceable player who finished his career with a .280 batting average and played on two World Championship teams, he is most famous for being one of three Alou brothers who played in the big leagues.


I was intrigued by the Alou brothers at an early age. Felipe, the oldest brother, was playing for the Atlanta Braves in 1966 when I first started following baseball. I have a vague recollection of my older brother Cushman telling me about Matty and Jesús Alou and explaining that “Jesús” was pronounced “hay-SOOS” rather than “JEE-zus” like we heard it pronounced in Sunday School. Many nights after listening to the Braves on WSM-AM 650, my brothers and I would turn the radio dial to 1120 and catch Jack Buck and Harry Caray doing play-by-play for the St. Louis Cardinals on KMOX. Apparently, Caray didn’t have an older brother to point out the subtleties of Spanish pronunciation, because he referred to Jesús Alou as if he were from Nazareth rather than from the Dominican Republic.


All three Alou brothers started their careers with the San Francisco Giants. Felipe made it to the majors in 1958 and was a regular player by 1961. Matty, the middle brother, first came up to the Giants in 1960 and was on third base when Willie McCovey hit a laser right at Bobby Richardson for the final out of Game Seven of the 1962 World Series.

Jesús Alou made his major league debut on September 10, 1963, as a pinch hitter for José Pagán in the top of the eighth inning. After Jesús grounded to shortstop, Matty entered the game as a pinch hitter for pitcher Bob Garibaldi and struck out. Felipe, batting in the leadoff spot, then grounded back to the pitcher. This was the first time in major league history that three brothers had appeared in the same game.


On September 15, the Alou brothers manned all three outfield positions during the final two innings of a 13-5 rout of the Pittsburgh Pirates at Forbes Field. Felipe started and played the entire game. In the seventh inning, Jesús came into the game in right field, and Felipe moved to left. In the bottom of the eighth, Matty entered the game in left field, and Felipe moved to center. Although the Alou brothers appeared in the same game seven times that season and occupied all three outfield positions in three games, they never were in the same starting lineup.

After leaving the Giants, all three Alou brothers bounced around a bit, but Felipe and Matty were reunited as teammates with the New York Yankees in 1973. When the Houston Astros traded Jesús to the Oakland Athletics in July of that year, it allowed all three Alou brothers to play in the same game a couple of more times. On August 12 of that year all three brothers finally played in the same game from start to finish.

The trade to Oakland worked out well for Jesús as he was on both the 1973 and 1974 teams that won the World Series.

The main reason I was fascinated by the Alou brothers was because I thought that if these three brothers could grow up to play in the same big-league outfield, then perhaps my older brothers Cush and John and I could, too.

Jesús Alou died last Friday; he was 80 years old. Matty passed away in 2011 at the age of 72. Big brother Felipe will be 88 in May.

(All statistics are from Baseball Referencegame details are from Retrosheet.)

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