Jesus came along when his name made many people feel uncomfortable. It seems quaint now. His name is pronounced "hay-SOOS." Still, it seemed America wasn't quite ready in the early 1960s for a player whose name was spelled the same as the Christian Savior.
The Alou brothers were from the Dominican Republic. They should have been known by the last name "Rojas." The San Francisco Giants scout who signed Felipe thought that "Alou" was his surname. It was his matronym. Felipe, eldest of the brothers, became the first Dominican to play regularly in the major leagues. The name never sprouted as a matter of contention, evidently, and everyone went on happily with "Alou." As for "Jesus," America needed a little time to adjust. Other players with that name would filter into the majors.
Today the non-Anglo names are totally accepted in the U.S.
All three Alous distinguished themselves. The boomer fans grew up seeing the Alou name frequently in boxscores. Those guys helped us adjust to the flow of non-Anglo players into our newspaper sports sections. Remember when Minnesota Twins fans made a big deal out of the name "Bombo" (Bombo Rivera)? It was disrespectful. Today any sports journalist who chooses to make light of such a name, implying that it's against the grain - perhaps worthy of a chuckle - would be dismissed immediately. It's not just political correctness. It's just sound thinking.
I recently wrote a post focusing on Jesus Alou on my companion website, "Morris of Course." click on the link to read:
Today I have a poem I wrote about the great Alou brothers. Here we go:
Moises with his Cub cap on
Was the fielder who was wronged
When that fan named Steve Bartman
Showed his mischief from the stands
Bartman was escorted out
To the sound of taunting shouts
Moises tried to stay composed
Though he knew his team got hosed
Cubbies could have won in fact
So to keep their soul intact
They were leading three to zero
Not in need of any heroes
Moises and his mates were primed
To continue with their climb
Would the Bartman play just fade
As a blip in their parade?
No, the play would seem a hex
With the things that happened next
One by one the Marlins scored
Moving up on that scoreboard
Moises had to feel chagrined
Pondering the might-have-beens
Through the years his family knew
How this game could torture you
Even when you give your all
In this pastime called baseball
Sometimes you just hear the boos
Unless your last name is Alou