Moises Alou debuts on BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot
As a member of one of the most well-known families in baseball history, Moises Alou knew from the start that his future was in baseball.
Watching his father – Felipe Alou – play ball inspired Moises. “He didn't force me into the game, but everybody wants to be like their dad,” Moises remarked. “I wanted to be a ballplayer, because my dad was a ballplayer.”
Now, Moises looks to carry the family name all the way to Cooperstown as he debuts on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame ballot this fall. Alou is one of 36 players on the 2014 BBWAA ballot for the Class of 2014.
BBWAA members who have at least 10 years of tenure with the organization can vote in the election, and the results will be announced Jan. 8. Any candidate who receives at least 75 percent of all BBWAA votes cast will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2014. The Induction Ceremony will be held July 27 in Cooperstown.
Alou is the son of Felipe Alou and the nephew of Matty Alou and Jesus Alou, all three of whom played in the majors and who teamed up to make the first all-brother outfield with the San Francisco Giants in 1963.
Always a disciplined hitter, Moises played for seven teams in 17 years at the major league level producing a career .303 batting average. He was born in Atlanta, Ga. – while his father was playing for the Atlanta Braves – but finds his roots in the baseball-rich country of the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is widely regarded as one of the top spots for international prospects annually, as the small Caribbean country has sent nearly 500 players to the MLB. “In the Dominican, everyone eats and breathes baseball,” said Alou.
Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates with the second overall pick in the 1986 Major League Baseball Draft (January phase), Alou made his major league debut four years later for the Pirates June 26, 1990, at age 24.
Looking to bolster their postseason chances – as the Pirates were in the middle of a playoff push – Pittsburgh shopped the promising young player. A hot commodity, one White Sox scout remarked that Alou “has success of father and uncle in background … plus tools. Good outfielder [and a] future All-Star,” according to the scouting report by Cal Emery, included in the Hall of Fame’s Diamond Mines database.
The report, filed with the White Sox in July of 1990, would be telling of Alou’s career.
Alou was traded – in a deal that brought the Pirates pitcher Zane Smith – in August to the Montreal Expos, where he would play six seasons – five of which he played for his father Felipe, as he was named the manager of the Expos in 1992.
After injuries sidetracked his 1991 campaign, Alou played his first full season at the major-league level in 1992. He put together a solid campaign, and finished second in National League Rookie of the Year balloting.
Alou would start to reach his full potential in the strike-shortened season of 1994. Fulfilling earlier predictions, he was named to his first All-Star team. Alou batted .339 with 22 big-flies and 78 RBI in just 107 games. For Alou’s work with the bat, he was honored with the NL’s Silver Slugger Award for outfielders while finishing third for NL MVP honors.
As a free agent after the 1996 season, Alou signed with the Florida Marlins and would play one year in South Florida for the Fish, but it was one to remember. In 1997, he hit .292, with 29 home runs, drove in 115 runs and was named to the NL All-Star team. That year, Alou helped lead the Marlins to a world championship. During the World Series, which pitted the Marlins against Cleveland, he shined.
In the seven-game series, Alou torched the Indians. He would go 9-for-28 – good for a .321 clip – with three home runs and nine RBI. Highlighted by two go-ahead home runs – both off Orel Hershiser – in Games 1 and 5, Alou was a difference-maker in bringing the first Fall Classic title to South Florida.
After the championship in Miami, the Marlins traded Alou to Houston, where he would produce some of the most prolific years of his career.
Alou eclipsed the .300 batting mark during each of his three seasons with the Astros. He was a two-time All-Star, and combined with Lance Berkman, Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell to make up one of the more potent lineups in the National League at that time – and Houston qualified for the playoffs in three out of four years Alou was on the team.
Alou joined forces with the Chicago Cubs starting in 2002, and by all accounts, it was a great fit for the Cubs. “For years, we’ve tried to figure a way to get him out,” Cubs manager Don Baylor said after signing Alou. “He’s a professional hitter, loves the two-out situation and the chance to drive in that tough run. That’s what you look for in a guy hitting fifth. He reminds me a lot of Tony Perez, a guy who wanted the chance for that big RBI.”
In his three seasons on the North Side of The Windy City, Alou was a major contributor in the turnaround that occurred. In 2003 – his second year with the club – Alou helped guide the Cubs to a NL Central Division Crown, earning the Chicago’s first postseason birth since 1998. After defeating the Atlanta Braves in the divisional round, the Cubs returned to the NL Championship Series for the first time since 1989.
To start the 2005 season, Moises would find himself reunited with his father – this time on the west coast, in San Francisco. Felipe had been managing the Giants since 2003, and when Moises signed with the Giants in free agency prior to the 2005 season the father-son duo were reunited for two additional years.
In his late thirties, Alou qualified for his final All-Star game during the 2005 season. He added two more years of batting in excess of .300 during his stay by the Bay.
On the move one final time, Alou would land in New York and finish out his career by playing two seasons with the Mets. In one of the greatest feats by a hitter over 40, Alou set the franchise record for longest hitting streak at 30 games in a row – a mark he achieved in the fall of 2007. During the streak, Alou hit .403, as the veteran carried an ailing Mets team that just missed the playoffs.
Ending his career in March of 2009, Alou played for the Dominican Republic in the second edition of World Baseball Classic. “I'm going home after this,” Alou told reporters at the World Baseball Classic. “This is my last rodeo, like you guys say, [and] it's a nice one.”
In his 17-year career, Alou batted .303, with 2,134 hits. He hit 332 home runs and tallied 1,287 RBI. Alou was a six-time All-Star, and captured two Silver Slugger Awards. He posted five seasons of 100-plus RBI, in addition to his eight seasons of batting over .300.
|1991||Did not play in major leagues (Injured)|
|1999||Did not play in major leagues (Injured)|
Andrew Kivette was the 2013 public relations intern in the Hall of Fame’s Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development
2014 Candidate Snapshot
Yrs on BBWAA ballot
|Paul Lo Duca||1998-2008||1st
|Hideo Nomo||1995-2005, 2008||1st|
|J.T. Snow||1992-2006, 2008||1st|
|Sammy Sosa||1988-2005, 2007||2nd|