Book Review: Alou

Alou is about baseball great Felipe Alou in his own words.  The intro to the book is by none other than Pedro Martinez. Felipe and 2 of his brothers (Matty and Jesus) were the only 3 brothers in the major leagues to share an outfield.  Felipe is often credited as the first Dominican to reach the major leagues, but he says that it was Ozzie Virgil Sr who did it before him.  The book is interesting and has a lot of great stories and facts about Felipe and his family.  His last name is actually not Alou, but Rojas.  He never faced a lefty pitcher until he was a professional baseball player because in the Dominican Republic being left handed was considered a curse so they were all right handed. (Or if they weren’t, tried to be.)  He has a 4th brother, Juan, who stayed home to protect his home in the Dominican Republic and ended up becoming a pretty great civil engineer. There is a lot of information about Felipe’s family as well – he has 11 children and has been married 4 times.  Tragically one of his sons died while he was diving into a pool by breaking his neck and Felipe talks about what it was like to find out about that while he was playing ball and having to fly straight home to the funeral from a game. This was a really interesting read and I enjoyed it.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

 

About the Book

Growing up in a tiny shack in the Dominican Republic, Felipe Alou never dreamed he would be the first man to go from his country to play and manage in Major League Baseball—and also the first to play in the World Series. Today, the Dominican Republic produces more Major League players than any country outside the United States.

In this extraordinary autobiography, Alou tells of his real dream: to become a doctor. An uncle was funding his university education when an improbable turn of events intervened at the 1955 Pan American Games. There as a track and field athlete, Alou was pressed into service on the baseball field to replace a player sent home for disciplinary reasons. A scout noticed Alou and offered him two hundred pesos to sign a pro contract. Knowing his father owed the grocer exactly two hundred pesos, Alou signed.

Battling racism in the United States and political turmoil in his home country, Alou persevered, paving the way for younger brothers Matty and Jesús and scores of other Dominicans, including his son Moisés. A fourth Alou brother, Juan, might have joined the historic trio if not for the improbable direction his own life took.
Alou played seventeen years in the Major Leagues, accumulating more than two thousand hits and two hundred home runs, and then managed another fourteen—four with the San Francisco Giants and ten with the Montreal Expos, where he became the winningest manager in franchise history. Alou became a special friend of Roberto Clemente, roomed with Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, and Joe Torre, and suffered the tragic death of his firstborn son.

Alou’s pioneering journey is embedded in the history of baseball, the Dominican Republic, and a remarkable family.

Category: Book Review
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