The all-Alou outfield, from left, Jesús, Matty and Felipe, in 1963.
A spokeswoman for the Giants, Staci Slaughter, confirmed the death, saying Alou had been ill with a variety of ailments. She said he died either Wednesday or early Thursday. The Associated Press reported that the cause was complications of diabetes.
Known more for his bat than his glove, Alou, who played for six major league teams, was a prolific singles hitter. His .307 average over his 15-year-career was higher than that of Willie Mays (.302) or Mickey Mantle (.298). His best years, 1966-69, were in an era dominated by pitching.
He rarely exhibited power, however, hitting a total of 31 homers and never batting in more than 74 runs in a season, though he once led the National League in doubles. He had 1,777 hits, 1,460 of which were singles.
Alou’s prowess at the plate was not immediately apparent. He made his big-league debut with the Giants at the end of the 1960 season, and he spent the next five years as a part-time player with the team, batting just .260, before being traded to Pittsburgh.
Full story from NYTimes.com's Bruce Webber:
Matty Alou, batting champion for the Pirates, dies at 72