September 10, 1963: Trio of Alou brothers make trail-blazing appearance with Giants

This article was written by Richard Cuicchi

Matty Alou, Felipe Alou, Jesús Alou (Trading Card DB)

In a time when baseball players from the Dominican Republic were just beginning to populate major-league rosters, the Dominican-born Alou brothers—Felipe, Matty, and Jesús—made history in 1963 by becoming the first instance of three brothers appearing as teammates in a major-league game. Their place in baseball history is also defined by their becoming part of the first wave of Dominican players in the majors.

During the 1950s and 1960s, San Francisco’s high-powered farm system regularly produced top talent, especially Black and Latin players. A key to the Giants’ success was Alex Pompez, the former owner of the Negro League New York Cubans, which became affiliated with the then-New York Giants in 1948. After his team folded, Pompez, who was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006, was hired by the Giants to scout players from Black baseball and the Caribbean area.1

One of Pompez’s earliest signees was Felipe Rojas Alou, who became the second Dominican-born player (after Ozzie Virgil),2 when he made his major-league debut with the San Francisco Giants on June 8, 1958. He was joined by his brother Mateo (Matty) Rojas Alou in a brief September call-up in 1960, appearing together in Matty’s major-league debut on September 26. Matty, who was only the seventh Dominican player to reach the majors, became a full-time major leaguer in 1961.

With Felipe as the Giants’ starting right fielder and Matty as a capable reserve outfielder, the Giants won the NL pennant in 1962 by defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-game tiebreaking playoff. San Francisco’s pennant-winners clearly reflected Pompez’s influence, with the Alou brothers, fellow Dominican Juan Marichal, Puerto Ricans Orlando Cepeda and José Pagán, and Alabama-born Willie McCovey among the team’s leaders.

At this point, a third Alou brother and Pompez signee, Jesús Maria Rojas Alou, had emerged as a top Giants prospect, batting .343 with 56 extra-base hits in the Texas League in 1962.

In spring training in 1963, the Giants’ outfield positions were crowded with established players Willie Mays, McCovey, Cepeda, Harvey Kuenn, and the Alou brothers. Even though 20-year-old Jesús was receiving attention in spring training as potentially the best of the Alou brothers, Giants farm director Carl Hubbell decided not to rush Jesús to the big leagues and assigned him to Triple-A Tacoma for the 1963 season. 3

Matty, who had injured his ankle during the exhibition season, joined Jesús in Tacoma in early August, since he was batting only .132 at the end of July.

On September 5, with the Triple-A season over and the major-league Giants on the fringes of contention in third place, San Francisco added both of the younger Alou brothers to the roster, recalling Matty and calling up Jesús, who had hit .326 for the season.4 Their arrival provided the opportunity the three brothers had hoped for since playing together in the Dominican Winter League—to play together in a major-league game.

A weekend series with the Dodgers followed. With manager Alvin Dark likely focused on keeping the Giants’ diminishing pennant hopes—or at least bonus pool money hopes—alive,5 Felipe Alou was the only brother to play. San Francisco took two of three games but was in fourth place, 8½ games out. After an offday, the Giants traveled to New York for a three-game series with the Mets, beginning on September 10.

The Mets were in their second season as an expansion franchise. After the team finished 1962 with an ignominious 40-120-1 record, Casey Stengel, who retained his job as manager in 1963, wasn’t having significantly more success. The Mets had only 47 victories to that point and were 39½ games behind the Dodgers.

In the opening game of the series, Dark went with veteran left-hander Billy O’Dell (12-7) to face Mets right-hander Carl Willey (8-12), who had earned two complete-game wins over the Giants earlier in the season.

Before the game, Dark said he hoped to get a 10-run lead so he could play all three Alous in the outfield. His plan was “to put Felipe in center because he’s the oldest” and have Matty and Jesús on either side of Felipe.6

O’Dell immediately ran into trouble in the first inning. Three straight one-out singles by Pumpsie Green, Ron Hunt, and Jim Hickman produced a run. Tim Harkness followed with a double that scored another. O’Dell intentionally walked Dick Smith to load the bases and retired the next two batters to strand the runners.

After O’Dell gave up a single and a walk in the second inning, Dark replaced him with 24-year-old Gaylord Perry, who prevented any runs and kept the Mets scoreless in the third and fourth innings.7

Hickman added another Mets score with a solo homer off Jack Fisher in the fifth.

With the Mets leading 3-0 in the top of the eighth and Willey pitching a four-hit shutout, Jesús made his major-league debut by batting for Jose Pagan and grounding out to shortstop.

Dark called on Matty next to pinch-hit for pitcher Bob Garibaldi. He struck out. Felipe then recorded the third out of the inning on a groundout to the pitcher.

While their results of their at-bats were unimpressive, the Alous made history by becoming the first set of three brothers to play together in a major-league game.

That was all for Matty and Jesús that night. When the Giants took the field in the eighth, their outfield remained McCovey in left, Mays in center, and Felipe Alou in right.

New York tacked on a fourth run in the eighth against Ron Herbel, who was recalled from Triple A at the same time as Matty and Jesús Alou and was making his first of 331 major-league appearances. Giants bats finally came alive in the ninth with solo homers by McCovey and Cepeda. But it was too late to affect the outcome. The final score was 4-2. Willey had his third complete-game victory over the Giants in 1963.

The Alou brothers did not get to play the field together on September 10, but five days later in Pittsburgh, the Giants produced something close to the “10-run lead” that Dark had contemplated. Felipe Alou had started in right field. By the bottom of the seventh, the Giants led, 8-3, and Dark moved Felipe to left and inserted Jesús Alou in right.

The Giants racked up four more runs in the top of the eighth, pushing the lead to 12-3. At that point, Dark removed Mays, put Matty Alou in left, and moved Felipe to center. All three brothers played the last two innings in the field in San Francisco’s 13-5 win.

In his autobiography Alou: My Baseball Journey, Felipe says it was Mays who urged Dark to play all three in the outfield at the same time.8

They made similar outfield appearances in blowout wins against the Milwaukee Braves (11-3) on September 17 and the Mets (13-4) on September 22. But all three brothers never started a game together.

The Giants finished the season in third place, 11 games behind the pennant-winning Dodgers.

The prospects for the Alou brothers getting an opportunity to continue as teammates with the Giants were dashed by Felipe’s trade to the Milwaukee Braves after the 1963 season.

All three brothers went on to have lengthy careers. Matty (.342) and Felipe (.327) finished first and second in the NL batting race in 1966. Felipe led the NL in hits twice and runs once. Jesús won two World Series rings with the Oakland A’s.

The Alou brothers finished their careers with the most combined hits (5,094) of any other trio of brothers in major-league history.9

As of 2022, there have been only 20 sets of major-league brothers comprising three or more siblings.10 The Alous remain the only trio of brothers to play together, which they did in eight games in 1963. The Cruz brothers—José Sr., Tommy, and Hector—were teammates with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973, but all three never appeared in the same game.



This article was fact-checked by Bruce Slutsky and copy-edited by Len Levin.



In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author consulted and for pertinent information, including the box score and play-by-play.



1 Alex Pompez Biography, SABR BioProject, Accessed August 29, 2022.

2 Ozzie Virgil was the first Dominican-born player in the majors, in 1956 with the New York Giants. He became the first Black player for the Detroit Tigers in 1958, 11 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in the major leagues.

3 Jack McDonald, “No. 3 Alou May Grab No. 1 Spot,” The Sporting News, April 6, 1963: 10.

4 “Giant Call Up—Two Alous,” San Francisco Examiner, September 6, 1963: 54.

5 Harry Jupiter, “18 Hits—Giants are 3rd Again,” San Francisco Examiner, September 16, 1963: 60.

6 Harry Jupiter, “SF Loses; LA, Cards Win,” San Francisco Examiner, September 11, 1963: 53-54.

7 Perry had yet to begin throwing the spitter in 1963. However, the next time the Giants played in Shea Stadium, in 1964, Perry threw the spitter for the first time, in the second game of a doubleheader, which lasted 23 innings.

8 Felipe Alou and Peter Kerasotis, Alou: My Baseball Journey (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2018), 126.

9 The other top brothers behind the Alous in combined career hits include the DiMaggios (Dom, Joe, and Vince)—4,853; Delahantys (Ed, Frank, and Jim)—3,979; Sewells (Joe, Luke, and Tommy)—3,613; and Boyers (Clete, Cloyd, and Ken)—3,559.

10 The 20 sets of three or more brothers are a subset of over 400 major-league brother combos. The Delahantys (Ed, Jim, Frank, Joe, and Tom) hold the record for most siblings with five brothers in the major league between 1888 and 1915. Between 1901 and 1928, the O’Neill family put four brothers (Mike, Jack, Jim, and Steve) in the majors. Three Mansell brothers (Mike, Tom, and John) had played in the same game while appearing in the minors for Albany in 1881 but were unable to accomplish it in the majors.

Additional Stats

New York Mets 4
San Francisco Giants 2

Polo Grounds
New York, NY


Box Score + PBP:

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