Giants to open new player development academy in Dominican Republic

Facility to be named after Giants legend Felipe Alou, will honor history of Giants baseball in the D.R.

The San Francisco Giants will dedicate its new international baseball academy on Tuesday, August 23 in the Dominican Republic town of Boca Chica. The Academy will be named "The Felipe Alou Baseball Academy" in honor of Alou's distinguished career that spans seven decades as a player, coach, manager and executive.

The official ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on Tuesday, August 23 at 10:00am, followed by a Dominican Summer League game between the Giants and Cubs. Felipe Alou, Juan Marichal, Ozzie Virgil, Jesus Alou and several baseball and local dignitaries will attend the festivities. They will be joined by a number of Giants officials, including Giants President and CEO Larry Baer, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Brian Sabean, Vice President and Assistant General Manager Jeremy Shelley and Vice President and Assistant General Manager of Scouting and International Operations John Barr. Giants Director of Latin American Operations Pablo Peguero will serve as emcee for the event.

"The Giants have a long and deep tradition in the Dominican Republic, dating back to the 1950s," said Giants President and CEO Larry Baer. "The Giants were the first Major League team to scout and sign players from the Dominican Republic. It is only fitting that we name this new Academy after one of these original players, Felipe Alou, who with dignity and character, inspired generations of players who followed his journey to the big leagues."

Alou made his major league debut with the Giants in 1958 - the team's first season in San Francisco. A three-time All-Star, in 1963 Felipe and his brother Mateo and Jesus formed MLB's first outfield comprised entirely of brothers. Following his successful playing career, Alou worked with young players as a coach and manager in the minor leagues and eventually rose to become the first Dominican to manage in the major leagues. He was named National League Manager of the Year in 1994 and is the winningest manager in Montreal Expos history. In 2003, Alou returned to San Francisco to manage the Giants. He led the Giants to a 100-win season in his first year at the helm. Alou retired as manager in 2007 and assumed the role as special assistant and advisor to the club.

The Felipe Alou Baseball Academy will serve as the headquarters of the Giants' Latin American operations and as the educational training and player development home for the team's international prospects. The state-of-the-art facility consists of three major league-size playing fields, batting tunnels, pitching mounds, and two substantial buildings. One building contains the clubhouse, gymnasium, training room, offices and conference rooms. The other serves as a residence hall for coaches and staff and up to 73 players. The residential building will feature classrooms, a computer laboratory, dining hall and recreational spaces. 

The three playing fields will be named for Giants greats from the Dominican Republic: Hall of Fame pitcher Juan Marichal; the first Dominican player in the major leagues, Osvaldo Virgil; and for the Alou Family in honor of Felipe, Mateo, Jesus and Felipe's son, Moises. Artwork placed throughout the facility will pay tribute to many other Giants' greats and to the rich history of Giants baseball in Latin America.

The complex includes a number of sustainable features that take into account the area's tropical climate and the strong presence of the sun. Fly roofs made of an expanded plastic used in Gore-Tex, provide shade for the buildings, reducing energy costs. Buildings were designed and oriented in relation to the sun's path and prevailing breeze. In the residential building, rooms are designed with high ceilings to maximize cross-ventilation. The complex uses local materials, including coralina, a limestone used extensive in the Dominican Republic. 

The project was designed by San Francisco architects Jones Haydu in collaboration with JMF Architects in the Dominican Republic. The general contractor was Dominican Republic-based Ciccone Construction. The Academy was planned and developed in association with the Rawlings Foundation, owner of the underlying property and long-standing business partner of the Giants in the Dominican Republic. 

About the San Francisco Giants

One of the oldest teams in Major League Baseball, the 134-year old franchise moved to San Francisco from New York in 1958. After playing a total of 42 years in Seals Stadium and Candlestick Park, the team moved to the privately constructed AT&T Park in 2000. The organization is widely recognized for its innovative business practices and baseball excellence. In 2010, the franchise was named the Sports Organization of the Year by Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal and in 2012 was named Organization of the Year by Baseball America.

Since opening its gates, AT&T Park has become internationally-renowned as a premier venue in the world of both sports and entertainment. On the diamond, more than 50 million spectators have witnessed a number of magical moments, including three World Series Championships (2010, 2012 & 2014) and five playoff appearances. In 2008, the Giants celebrated the team's 50th year in San Francisco and it was the center of the baseball universe when it hosted the 78th Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 10, 2007. AT&T Park has also played host to some of music's biggest acts, including Beyoncé & Jay Z, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, Green Day and Billy Joel.  

Off the field, the Giants have one of the premier community outreach programs in professional sports, becoming the first team to implement a 100 percent participation program, involving every player, coach and uniformed staff member in at least one community project throughout the season. Through its community outreach programs, the Giants and the Giants Community Fund work with corporate and non-profit partners to raise awareness, educate and generate interest in a variety of issues important to both their fans and community. These issues include education/literacy, violence prevention, health and youth recreation and fitness. The Giants Community Fund's Junior Giants Baseball Program received the 2015 Commissioner's Award for Philanthropic Excellence, and the San Francisco Giants were named ESPN Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year in July of 2016. 

About Felipe Alou

Special Assistant to the General Manager

Felipe Alou, a man whose name is synonymous with the Giants, returns for his ninth season as a special assistant to the general manager after serving as the club's field manager from 2003-06. He works closely with Bobby Evans on special assignments, ranging from Major League scouting and player acquisition to minor league instruction. He provides evaluations and recommendations at both levels.

The Dominican icon continues a long and storied career with the franchise, beginning with his playing days as a member of the original San Francisco Giants club in 1958. He concluded his four-year tenure at the helm of the Giants ranking seventh on the wins list for San Francisco skippers with a 342-304 record.

The 2016 campaign will mark Alou's 61st season in professional baseball. Following a distinguished 17-year playing career that ended in 1974, he was appointed a minor league manager in 1976 and remained in uniform each year through the 2006 campaign.

In 13 seasons as a Major League manager, the 1994 National League Manager of the Year posted a 1,033-1,021-1 ledger and became just the 53rd skipper since 1900 to register 1,000 wins. The Haina, Dominican Republic native is the first manager of Latin descent to win 1,000 games in the big leagues, and is only the third foreign-born skipper to reach the milestone. Alou became the first Dominican-born manager in Major League history when he assumed control of the Montreal Expos on May 22, 1992. He was the fourth Latin American head man born in the Caribbean Islands, following Mike Gonzalez (Cuba), Preston Gomez (Cuba) and Cookie Rojas (Cuba).

Prior to the 2015 season, Alou was elected into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, acknowledging his work with the Expos.

Primarily an outfielder during his playing days, the second Dominican-born player to reach the Majors (following Ozzie Virgil with the 1956 New York Giants) was a three-time All-Star during a 17-year career with the Giants (1958-63), Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves (1964-69), Oakland Athletics (1970-71), New York Yankees (1971-73), Montreal Expos (1973) and Milwaukee Brewers (1974).

Alou and his wife, Lucie, make their home in Boynton Beach, FL with their two children, Valerie and Felipe, Jr. He is also the father of daughters Maria, Christia, Cheri and Jennifer, along with sons Jose, Moises, Felipe Jose and Luis.