The best of the baseball playing Alou brothers and, dare I say, the best player to come from the Alou bloodline. A few readers may balk initially at that statement, but I am only presenting the impact that senior Alou has presented during his managerial terms in the major leagues. He has coached many teams, a number of them in the minor leagues, and received universal praise from his peers and pupils through not only anecdote but factual record as well.
Felipe Alou was the first of the three Alou brothers to come up through the San Francisco Giants' extraordinarily successful farm system of 1950s and 60s, a system which produced such players as Matty and Jesus Alou, the other two Alou brothers, Jim Ray Heart, Bobby Bonds, Garry Mathews, Garry Maddox and many others.
Felipe was a player who, through good initial play and involvement with several moments of interest in the major leagues, received a lot of publicity and recognition for a ball player of fairly medium talent. He batted in the same inning with his two brothers during an SF Giants v Cubs game in 1963 and, later on in the season, starting together in the outfield, marking the only time that three brothers have played together in a major league outfield. When with the 1962, pennant winning San Francisco Giants|Giants], Felipe failed to get a bunt down in the world series and became a minor goat in one of the most exciting game sevens in baseball history
Felipe was always the best the of the three (though not the best player to come out of that Giant farm). While his brother Matty won a batting title and Jesus was always seen as the better prospect, in serving as a power-hitting leadoff man with a good glove for both the Braves and the Giants, Felipe built the best career out of all of them. He hit homeruns before getting old and before getting too old he became a defensive specialist who hit a little.
Following an extended stint with the Braves of Milwaukee and Atlanta, the elder Alou retired as a part time player first with the Yankees and then the Expos and Brewers. In 1979, after a five year break from the game, Felipe became a coach for the Montreal Expos, alternating between that and a variety of minor league jobs throughout their system. During that time he established himself as a man willing to experiment who stressed the fundamentals of baseball and drew his club together as a unit, especially in regard to the Latin demographic. In 1985, when the Giants wanted Felipe as their manager, he declined, playing the loyal soldier to an ownership that had "been very good to me and continue to be good for me." He was rewarded in '92 with command of a good, young Expo team.
In '93, Alou led the surprising Expos to second-place finish, impressing media, players and fans alike with his low-key but powerfully effective style. The next year, Alou surprised everyone by winning the AP Manager of the Year award and leading the Expos through a season that many (and it is hard to deny) called their best chance to get a World Series title, a chance that was lost due to various strike related problems. The next season, Alou lost most of his good players due to financial constraints and was drug mercilessly into the cellar. Despite that, Alou's teams continued to produce outstanding major league players (though they lost all of them) and succeed despite staggering financial restraints.
In 2001, Felipe was dismissed as the Montreal head coach after a disapointing 21-32 start, the slowness of which was magnified by the team's seeming abundance of under utilized talent. He enjoyed his retirement for a while before coming back to his old family, the SF Giants, as the head coach in 2003, fast on the heels of the lauded Dusty Baker.
Despite recieving heat from a wide array of embittered fans and writers, Felipe once again surprised his critics by leading a mediocre Giants team to a hundred wins and a second consecutive playoff spot. Though the Giants had won the most games in baseball that year, they once again lost to the future world champs though this time in the first round rather than the third. Fans were disappointed all along the bay as many recognized that this could have been their team's last, best shot.
Through 2004, Felipe Alou has carried his Giants as far as their talent can take them. Though they cannot boast to the depth or ability of their competitors, they do have Barry Bonds, the best player in baseball, maybe the best player of all time. They are a group of veterans who press and push against their superiors and are likely to fall before the end of September. However, despite that, few can deny that Felipe is one of the major reasons that the San Francisco Giants can even contend and, without him, they'd be well beyond consideration of respectable success.
Personally, Felipe is warm man with strong personal charisma who relies on good baseball common sense and natural leadership ability as his primary managerial attributes. He was a player who always excelled defensively and briefly was a very valuable leadoff hitter in the early sixties. By all accounts, he is a good husband and father with a son, Moises, who has more than come into his own as a professional ball player.
Career line comes in at 286/328/433 with 206 homers and 107 stolen bases in 2,082 games played