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Sunday, December 27, 2020

Felipe Alou enjoyed himself over 17 major league seasons as a player, 14 as a manager

After spending 17 seasons in the majors as a player, Felipe Alou signed on with the Expos in 1977 to manage, at single-A West Palm Beach.

To The Miami News that June, Alou explained the transition from the majors to the low minors.

"There's a lot to do," Alou told The News. "I handle more balls in one day now than I used to in a year. But I like it. I'm really enjoying myself."

Alou enjoyed his work enough to first return to the majors as a coach, then as a manager. He ultimately spent a decade as manager of the big league Expos in Montreal, then four more helming the Giants in San Francisco. 

Along the way, he headed up the 1994 Expos team that amassed baseball's best record before the strike and earned the National League's top manager award for his efforts.

Alou's career in baseball began in 1956, signed by the Giants out of his native Dominican Republic. 

He played his first year largely at Class D Cocoa, then saw single-A Springfield and AAA Minneapolis in 1957.

Alou debuted with the Giants in 1958. He hit .253 in 75 games. He then stayed with the Giants through 1963, becoming an All-Star in 1962 as he hit .316, with 25 home runs. 

He then moved to the Braves for 1964 and stayed with them through 1969. He made the All-Star team again in 1966 and 1968. 

Alou started 1966 at age 31 with hits in 16-straight games. He told The Associated Press that May he thought he might slow down due to his age.

"One day you wake up and you've got it, and you know you're going to hit," Alou told The AP. "The next day you wake up and maybe it isn't there - although you don't feel a bit different."

Alou then played in five more seasons after his Braves time. He last saw three games with the Brewers in 1974. In his 17 seasons, he saw more than 2,000 games played and hit .286.

He then started his coaching and managerial career by 1977, at West Palm Beach. He quickly saw Montreal in 1979 and 1980 as an assistant coach. He also served as a first base coach in Montreal in 1984.

In between, he managed at AAA. He saw West Palm Beach again from 1987 to 1991. For 1992, he made the jump back to Montreal as manager. On his team: His son Moises Alou.

His Expos went 94-68 in 1993, then 74-40 in the strike-shortened season. He took home 27 of 28 first place votes for National League Manager of the Year.

"This is very gratifying," Alou told The AP after winning the award. "But I would trade this for a playoff spot. The one regret I have is that we didn't complete the regular season."

Alou continued to manage the Expos into 2001. He then signed on with the Giants as manager in 2003 and went 100-61. He continued there through 2006.

In 2018, he published his autobiography, "Alou: My Baseball Journey."  

"It's about my journey of life," Alou told The Tampa Bay Times upon the book's release. "Baseball is part of my everything."

Alou continues with the Giants in 2020 as special assistant to baseball operations.

1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,541
Made the Majors:1,228-34.7%-X
Never Made Majors:2,313-65.3%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:510-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:304

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