1969 BASEBALL PLAYER OF THE DAY- JESUS ALOU- MONTREAL EXPOS

 

Jesus Alou one of the three famous Alou brothers who had long careers in major league baseball. Jay Alou is pictured in the above 1969 Topps Card- as an Expo but he would never actually wear an Expos uniform. In October 1968 he was taken in the expansion draft by the expansion Expos from the San Francisco Giants but he would be traded during the winter to the Houston Astros.

The Alou’s were from Bajos de Haina, Dominican Republic and grew up poor. Jesus was the youngest of the three and the scouts believed he had the most potential- he received the highest bonus from the San Francisco Giants who signed all three brothers.

Jesus was always called “hey zoos” by the media but his teammates would call him J or Jesus. In his Ball Four- Jim Bouton who was a teammate in Houston in 1969 said that ” J. is the most delicate, sensitive, nicest men I have ever met. He’d walk a mile out of his way to drop a coin in some beggar’s cup.” Being such a good guy couldn’t have hurt him in his staying in the majors for fifteen seasons.

When Jesus was called up to the Majors by the Giants in September 1963- in his debut on September 10th all three Alou brothers would come to the plate in the same inning. Later that month all 3 Alou’s would be in the outfield at the same time [they never all started a game in the outfield together though.}

The right handed hitting Jay didn’t develop into the player that the Giants had hoped although in his first full season 1964 he did have his greatest game going six for six in a game- five singles and a home run. His best season would be his sophomore season in 1965- when he had career highs in home runs with 9 and RBI with 52 while hitting .298. Jay Alou would be with the Giants through the 1968 season. He was taken in the expansion draft by Montreal but traded before the season in a big trade for the Expos. Alou and Donn Clendennen were sent to the Astros for Rusty Staub. Clendennen refused the trade and Jack Billingham would replace him in the trade. Staub would go on to become the most popular player in Expos history. He be a regular with the Astros for three seasons. A good average hitter with no power.

On July 31st, 1973 he was lucky enough to be traded to the Oakland A’s and would finally get the chance to play in the post-season. In the 1973 World Series he played in all seven games of the series that the A’s won against the Mets. Alou had 20 at bats in the series but only hit .158. In the 1974 World Series he only had one at bat.

Alou’s career was winding down. The A’s released him after the World Series and he played some with the Mets in 1975, was out of the majors for two seasons-playing in Mexico before coming back to the Astros for two final seasons in 1978-79 in a reserve role.

Jay Alou was the least successful of the three Alou Brothers- but he did play fifteen years in the Major Leagues and was a welcome addition to every team he played for. I always remember in those last seasons with the Astros his coming to the plate against my Pirates and the organist at Three Rivers Stadium playing “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”…of course for Astros third baseman Art Howe they played “How Great Thou Art.”

During his 15 seasons Jay Alou hit 32 home runs, 377 RBI and hit for a .280 average. He wasn’t a guy who drew walks or struck out much either- his career On Base Percentage was .305.

Quinn and I were chatting about Jay Alou and we both agreed that when you look at his numbers on paper- pretty impressive that he played for 15 years. He contributed in ways that can’t be seen in stats. If I were a manager I would be happy to have a Jay Alou on the ballclub. A guy you don’t have to worry about. If he is playing or not playing he has a smile on his face and a positive attitude. He is never going to cause problems and his presence no doubt help alleviate a number of problems. Reading over the comments Jim Bouton made about him- and Bouton kind of told it like it was in Ball Four- yes, if I were a manager I’d be more than pleased to have Alou  on my ballclub.  I think Casey Stengel’s great quote was-  “The key to being a good manager is keeping the people who hate me away from those who are still undecided.”

Jay Alou is still in baseball, since 2002 he has been the head of Dominican scouting for the Boston Red Sox. The Alou Brothers made good in baseball.

Image result for alou brothers images

 

Advertisements