MLB

How the Alou Brothers Made MLB History in the Outfield

Once in a while, a pair of brothers play the same sport professionally. For example, Peyton and Eli Manning quarterbacked in the NFL, though Eli retired several seasons after his big brother. It’s a rare occasion when three brothers play the same sport at the same time. Even rarer? Those three brothers playing on the same team at the same time. It’s only happened once — with the MLB’s Alou brothers, Felipe, Jesus, and Matty.

These siblings also made history in a way that still gets discussed in baseball circles to this day. Here’s their story and exactly how they made history in the outfield.

The careers of the Alou brothers

The Alou brothers (L-R) Felipe Alou of the New York Yankees, Jesus Alou of the Oakland Athletics, and Matty Alou of the Yankees in 1973
The Alou brothers (L-R): Felipe Alou of the New York Yankees, Jesus Alou of the Oakland Athletics, and Matty Alou of the Yankees in 1973 | Louis Requena/MLB via Getty Images

The Alou brothers collectively played 5,129 games in the major leagues, according to Sports Illustrated. The best of the brothers had to be Felipe. In a career lasting from 1958-74, he had 2,101 hits — the most of the three brothers. Matty finished his career with 1,777 hits, playing from 1960-74. Jesus played from 1963-79 and finished with 1,216 hits. 

The Alou brothers also finished their careers with more hits than any other trio of brothers in MLB history. Here’s how the other brothers fared compared to the Alous:

  • The Alous (Felipe, Jesus, and Matty): 5,094
  • The DiMaggios (Dom, Joe, and Vince): 4,853
  • The Delahantys (Ed, Frank, and Jim): 3,979
  • The Sewells (Joe, Luke, and Tommy): 3,619
  • The Boyers (Clete, Cloyd, and Ken): 3,559

It’s tough to tell if this makes them the greatest brother trio of all time — the DiMaggios might like a word about that — but they did accomplish two feats no other trios of brothers have ever duplicated. They did it within the span of a few games during the 1963 season. 

How the Alou brothers made MLB history in the outfield

For a brief period of time, all three Alou brothers played together with the San Francisco Giants. They first made history on September 10, 1963, when, as members of the San Francisco Giants, they all batted in the eighth inning against the Mets. They became the first three brothers in M LB history to accomplish this feat. 

Only five days later, they made history again. With Felipe in centerfield, Jesus at right, and Matty at left, the Alou brothers became the first set of brothers to patrol the same outfield at the same time. They played the outfield together one additional time that season. Once the year concluded, the team traded Felipe to the Braves. 

What happened to the Alou brothers? 

The Alou brothers’ amazing feat went down in history as a once-in-a-generation accomplishment. So what did the trio achieve after their MLB careers ended? 

Sadly, Matty passed away in 2011. Jesus later served as an Astros coach for the 1979 season. Felipe was hired to manage the Montreal Expos, which means he kept the tradition of Alou-alongside-Alou alive — the fifth manager in MLB history to manage his son.

Felipe’s son, Moises, was in his third year with the team. He led the Expos to a rare period of respectability for the franchise. Felipe was the manager of the 1994 Expos team that won the NL East in a strike-shortened season. Moises went on to have a long, successful career as well.  

Though their time together in one uniform was brief, the Alou brothers are still remembered for their rare feat of patrolling the same outfield at the same time. It’s never happened since, and it’ll likely never happen again.