Ex-Giant Great Matty Alou, 72, Dies in Dominican Republic

Matty Alou, once part of an all-Alou outfield for the San Francisco Giants with brothers Felipe and Jesus, has died in his native Dominican Republic. He was 72.

His former Dominican team, Leones del Escogido, said Alou died Thursday of complications related to diabetes. The Giants also confirmed his death and said Alou had been sick for several years with a variety of health issues.

"Although he played for six different teams, Matty remained a part of the Giants family as a longtime employee and will be forever linked with his brothers, Felipe and Jesus, as the first all-brother major league outfield, the Giants said.

"I lost a great friend," Orlando Cepeda, retired Puerto Rican ballplayer and one of Alou's San Franicsco Giants teammates, said. "We were roommates many times with the Giants. He was a very gracious man, and a tremendous baseball player."

The 1966 National League batting champion with Pittsburgh, Alou was a career .307 hitter with 31 home runs, 427 RBIs, 1,777 hits and 236 doubles in 15 major league seasons. He spent his first six seasons with San Francisco and also played for St. Louis, Oakland, the New York Yankees and San Diego.

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"He went to Pittsburgh and switched from a light bat to a heavy bat, and he hit .340 one year," Cepeda recalled.

"Dominican baseball in general, and the Leones del Escogido, in particular, has lost one of the most emblematic figures and an extraordinary human being," Luis Manuel Bonetti, President of the Dominican baseball club said in a press release.

The Alou brothers made history in 1963 when they appeared in the same outfield for several games.

Felipe Alou, who managed the Giants for four seasons from 2003-06, takes pride in how the Alou name has endured in baseball.

"It's a family legacy," Felipe said during his time managing the Giants. "The Alou legacy is a legacy in itself. I see all of us together being a force going through this game, and still going. The respect, I'm proud of that, and length of service."

Felipe Alou still believes he cost the Giants a championship in 1962 when he failed to get down a bunt in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 1962 World Series. It would have moved Matty from first to second. The Giants lost the game 1-0 and the Series to the New York Yankees.

In 2010, San Francisco finally captured the city's first title since moving west in 1958.

A memorial service was held Thursday and Alou was scheduled to be buried Friday. He is survived by his wife, Maria Teresa, three children — Mateo Jr., Teresa and Matias — and four grandchildren. In addition, he is survived by five siblings: brothers Felipe, Jesus and Jose, and sisters Zula and Virginia.

Alou and his wife celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary Oct. 27.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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