Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, joined by Senator Adriano Espaillat, Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, Consul General Eduardo Selman, and representatives of the Inwood Little League, renamed a local Inwood Street in honor of former Major League Baseball player Matty Alou on Saturday afternoon. They were joined by dozens of family members including Alou’s widow Theresa de Rojas-Alou, daughter Theresa Rojas-Alou, and his sons Mateo Jr and Matthias Rojas-Alou. In order to honor the deep culture of baseball in Northern Manhattan, Council member Rodriguez decided to name Seaman Avenue between Isham and 207th, a street adjacent to the Inwood Hill Park Ball Fields, after the national star who passed away at 72 in 2011.
Alou was among the most successful and first Dominican players in Major League Baseball. He played for six teams including the San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, St Louis Cardinals, Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees, and San Diego Padres. In 1966, he became the National League batting champion with the Pittsburgh Pirates with a .342 average. He was a career .307 hitter with 31 home runs, 427 runs batted in, 1,777 hits, and 236 doubles in 15 major league seasons. During his career Alou was a two-time All-Star, and a World Series Champion in 1972 with the Oakland Athletics. In 2007, he was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame.
During their playing careers, the Alou brothers (Felipe, Jesus, and Matty) achieved many firsts, including being the first three brothers to play in major league game in the same outfield and bat in the same half inning. They also brought back many of the benefits they’ve received to their communities. As the representatives of the MLB in the Dominican Republic, they facilitated MLB bringing jobs, meals, and equipment to the island. The Alou brothers never forgot about their community holding pursuing numerous charity events. Further, Matty Alou served as President of the Baseball Players Union in the Dominican Republic, working to make sure that players received fair wages and treatment.
After the co-naming ceremony members locals participated in an old glory memorial game organized by the Cesar Presbott Foundation and the Inwood Little League. Further, local artist Oscar Abreu provided a mural dedication.
“It is always an honor and a pleasure to have the ability to use our streets as a reminder of the individuals who brought our communities to where we are today,” Rodriguez said. “Matty Alou and his brothers not only broke barriers because of their skill, but also for people of color in what at the time was a white-dominated sport. Since then, because of their hard work, a pipeline was created for Dominican and Latino baseball players. I couldn’t be more proud to honor the legacy of an individual that truly understands that when you succeed, you don’t just celebrate, but turn around and build a ladder so others can achieve your success and beyond.”