Book Birthdays celebrate one year of a book’s life in tweets, reviews, and more. This month we’re saying Happy First Book Birthday to Alou: My Baseball Journey by Felipe Alou with Peter Kerasotis.
About the Book:
Growing up in a tiny shack in the Dominican Republic, Felipe Alou never dreamed he would be the first man to go from his country to play and manage in Major League Baseball—and also the first to play in the World Series. Today, the Dominican Republic produces more Major League players than any country outside the United States.
In this extraordinary autobiography, Alou tells of his real dream: to become a doctor. An uncle was funding his university education when an improbable turn of events intervened at the 1955 Pan American Games. There as a track and field athlete, Alou was pressed into service on the baseball field to replace a player sent home for disciplinary reasons. A scout noticed Alou and offered him two hundred pesos to sign a pro contract. Knowing his father owed the grocer exactly two hundred pesos, Alou signed.
Battling racism in the United States and political turmoil in his home country, Alou persevered, paving the way for younger brothers Matty and Jesús and scores of other Dominicans, including his son Moisés. A fourth Alou brother, Juan, might have joined the historic trio if not for the improbable direction his own life took.
Alou played seventeen years in the Major Leagues, accumulating more than two thousand hits and two hundred home runs, and then managed another fourteen—four with the San Francisco Giants and ten with the Montreal Expos, where he became the winningest manager in franchise history. Alou became a special friend of Roberto Clemente, roomed with Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, and Joe Torre, and suffered the tragic death of his firstborn son.
Alou’s pioneering journey is embedded in the history of baseball, the Dominican Republic, and a remarkable family.
“This is an excellent work that should be part of any baseball aficionado’s library. Of course, it covers the life of a great ballplayer and manager in total. But it is much more than that. Alou and Kerasotis contextualize the experiences of this legend and use it to shed light on the key social issues, and baseball’s place in these, from the 1950s through the current time.” —Sport in American History
“An engrossing book, with baseball as the background and the lessons from a remarkable life going well beyond the game.” —Jorge Ortiz, USA Today
“This is a powerful memoir of a remarkable player who made a lasting impact on America’s pastime.” —Publishers Weekly
“This gives the book a richness that’s not found in your standard athlete autobiography.” —Kevin Canfield, Datebook
“All of us who know Alou are aware that his tale is remarkable. This book brings his story alive: his path from an impoverished upbringing to track star to baseball player to become the first major-league player from the Dominican Republic… Alou is a precious part of the history of the Giants and the game.” —Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle
“One of the finest men I’ve ever met in Major League Baseball is Felipe Alou. This is a proud man. Proud of his career as a player, proud of his career as a manager, and fiercely proud of his Dominican heritage… It’s not surprising that his new book, Alou: My Baseball Journey, is just as much a life journey as it is about baseball.” —Barry Bloom, Forbes
- Christian Science Monitor
- Old Baseball Cards
- Palm Beach Post
- The Journal Sentinel
- La Vida Baseball
- Dominican Today
- Tampa Bay Times
- Daytona Beach News
- Florida Today
On the blog:
A Word from Peter Kerasotis:
Working on a book can sometimes seem like solitary confinement. Aside from the times spent with Felipe Alou—I call them my Tuesdays with Morrie sessions—you spend a lot of intimate time with a keyboard and computer screen.
Once all the work of researching, reporting and writing is done, the work of getting the word out (no pun intended) begins. That part was rewarding. Because of Felipe’s status as an iconic figure in Major League Baseball history, it was heartwarming to see how people reacted to him at the book signings and author discussions we did. People beamed in his presence, and since Felipe is so personal they left with even bigger smiles. But just because people adore someone for their career doesn’t mean they’re going to fall in love with their book.
Given that, it is beyond gratifying to continually see and read the reaction people have to Felipe’s autobiography. His story is special, and it is far more than a baseball story. People saw that and noted it. The professional critics have praised the book, and the 5-star reader reviews on Amazon are closing in on 70. There is no better feeling for a writer, and it makes all those days in solitary confinement worth it.