Armour: Matty Alou and Manny Mota, the greatest platoon

From SABR member Mark Armour at The National Pastime Museum on April 20, 2018:

Matty Alou was the second of three ballplaying Alou brothers, all outfielders, all signed by the Giants at a time when the team was swimming in outfielders and first basemen. In addition to Felipe, Matty, and Jesus Alou, in the early 1960s the Giants also employed Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Willie Kirkland, Harvey Kuenn, Manny Mota, and Jose Cardenal—nine players essentially competing for left field, right field, and first base. Center field, the province of Willie Mays, was unavailable.

Of the Alous, Matty had the least power and was ultimately the least valued by the Giants. He came up briefly in 1960 and hit around .300 in 1961 and 1962, mainly backing up Felipe in right field. In 1963 Jesus came up in September, and all three brothers played together in the outfield a few times. After the season the Giants traded Felipe to the Braves to help relieve some of the outfield logjam.

Matty spent the next two seasons backing up the three outfield positions, but his hitting deteriorated enough—.246 with three home runs over the two years—that his Major League career was in jeopardy. Alou had very little power and did not walk much, so even in the 1960s he had to hit .300 to be of much use, especially playing a corner outfield position. After the 1965 season, the Giants traded him to the Pirates.

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Originally published: April 20, 2018. Last Updated: April 20, 2018.