New York Mets’ Slugger Pete Alonso Named National League Rookie of the Year

Pete Alonso is living proof that persistence pays off…

The 24-year-old part-Spanish American Major League Baseball player began the 2019 season fighting just to make the New York Mets‘ Opening Day roster. But he ends it as the National League Rookie of the Year after slugging a rookie record 53 home runs, driving in 120 runs and becoming a cult hero for Mets fans for his energy and enthusiasm and one memorable bare-chested postgame interview.

Pete Alonso

Alonso was a near unanimous selection of the award’s 30 voters, getting 29 first-place votes. Atlanta Braves starter Mike Soroka received the other first-place vote and finished second, with San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jrfinishing third.

Soroka posted a 2.68 ERA and won 13 games as the ace of the division-winning Braves. Tatis slashed .317/.379/.590 and dazzled fans with his defensive plays in the infield, but an injury ended his season at 84 games.

“To just win the award, doesn’t matter if it’s unanimous or not,” Alonso said on Monday night. “It’s still such a blessing.”

Alonso’s 53 home runs broke Aaron Judge‘s rookie record of 52 set in 2017, as Alonso became the sixth Rookie of the Year in Mets history, the first since Jacob deGrom in 2014. 

He joins Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Chris Davis as the only active players with 50 home runs in a season and he’s just the 30th player in MLB history to reach that mark. 

His 120 RBIs are the seventh most for a rookie in major league history and the most since Albert Pujols had 130 in 2001.

Alonso’s storybook season was no sure thing back in spring training, however. Although he led the minors with 39 home runs in 2018, the Mets had a glut of infielders with Robinson CanoJed LowrieTodd Frazier and Dominic Smith all in the mix at first, second and third base along with Alonso. There were also concerns about Alonso’s defense, and many teams start their top prospects in Triple-A for a couple of weeks to manipulate the player’s service time.

Alonso, however, earned a roster spot after hitting .352 with four home runs in spring training. It also helped that Lowrie and Frazier began the season on the injured list.

Alonso, a second-round pick in 2016 out of the University of Florida, ran with the opportunity, hitting .378 with six home runs in his first 12 games. He said he was challenged by first-year general manager Brodie Van Wagenento “show up in shape and earn your spot.”

“I felt like I answered the bell,” Alonso said.

He finished April with nine home runs, bashed 10 more in May and entered the All-Starbreak with 30 home runs. In Cleveland, he took home the $1 million prize for winning the Home Run Derby, upstaging fellow rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr.in the final round with a 23-22 victory after Guerrero had bashed 40 home runs in the semifinals.

“It’s survive and advance,” Alonso said after his win. “You’ve got to go in with kind of a killer instinct. It doesn’t matter how many you hit; you just need to have one more than the guy you’re facing.”

Alonso also won over fans when he pledged 5% of his winnings to the Wounded Warrior Projectand another 5% to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

Along the way, Alonso became a fan favorite, not just for his prodigious home runs — he hit 15 of at least 430 feet — but also for his infectious joy and his ability to win over New Yorkers. When the Mets began surging back into the playoff race in early August, he issued a not-safe-for-work rallying cry playing off the “Let’s go Mets!” chant. After a walk-off bases-loaded walk beat the Philadephia Phillies on September 6, Mets teammates ripped off Alonso’s jersey and he conducted interviews on SNY and MLB Network bare-chested.

“I’m not taking my shirt off for this one,” Alonso joked on MLB Network’s broadcast while accepting the award.

He wore custom-made cleats on September 11 to honor the victims of 9/11, even ordering a pair for each of his teammates. “For me, I just come from a place where I want to show support, not just for the victims but their families as well, because no one really knows how deep those emotional scars can be,” Alonso said at the time.

He smashed his 42nd home run on August 27, breaking the Mets’ team record shared by Carlos Beltran and Todd Hundley. With three games remaining in the regular season, Alonso was one homer away from tying Judge. He matched him with a home run at home against the Braves in Game 160 and then surpassed Judge in Game 161 with a third-inning home run off Mike Foltynewicz, a towering shot to right-center. Alonso raised both arms over his head in triumph, received hugs from teammates and a standing ovation from the crowd, and then he wiped tears from his eyes while playing first base the following inning.

“To me, it just means so much,” Alonso said after the game. “I didn’t know I was going to be overcome with all that emotion. At that point, I might as well just let it out.”

Pete Alonso Hits 52nd Homer to Tie Aaron Judge’s MLB Rookie Home Run Record

Pete Alonsois one homer away from making history on his own…

The 24-year-old part-Spanish American New York Metsslugger hit his 52nd homer of the season, tying New York Yankees star Aaron Judge‘s total from 2017 for most by a rookie.

Alonso lined an 0-1 fastball from Atlanta Bravesleft-hander Dallas Keuchelnarrowly over the wall in left field in the first inning Friday night. He smiled as he hurried around the bases and pointed to the home fans as he crossed the plate. Teammates greeted him with handshakes outside the dugout, and the crowd at Citi Fieldinsisted on a curtain call.

“Unbelievable. When I was rounding the bases I felt like a little kid. I felt like a 7-year-old kid,” Alonso said. “I was just really kind of overcome with pure joy and emotion. I don’t think I’ve had a happier time in my life playing baseball. That is the ultimate. That’s what dreams are made of. It’s unbelievable that it happened. I still can’t believe it happened.”

Keuchel was booed when he walked Alonso in the third inning, and the big slugger popped up and struck out in his final two at-bats. The Mets won 4-2.

Alonso leads the CincinnatiReds’ Eugenio Suarezby three for the majors’ home run lead and would be the first rookie since at least 1900 to claim the big league crown outright. Manager Mickey Callawaysaid he might bat Alonso leadoff in the final two games to get him extra at-bats, and Alonso was eager to slide up a spot.

A history major in college with “an affinity for that kind of stuff,” Alonso said he’s struggling to comprehend the accomplishment.

“When I think of baseball history, I think old-timey guys like Lou GehrigBabe RuthBarry Bonds,” Alonso said. “Geez, I mean, to think that as a rookie I hit more homers than everyone except for one guy, it’s nuts. It’s crazy. I’m not trying to sound any other way. It’s just, wow.”

Judge, who has struggled with injuries the past two seasons, has 26 homers in 100 games in 2019. He predicted late Friday night that Alonso would break the rookie record.

“No better person to share it with. He’s eventually going to break it, I know that for sure,” Judge said. “Happy for him. I had a chance to meet him this year and talk to him a little bit, and no better individual to represent not only the Mets but the city of New York. He’s going to do a lot of special things over his long career. I’m excited for him. This is just the beginning for him, the first of many records he’s going to break.”

Alonso has already set franchise records for homers, total bases (343) and extra-base hits (84). He has 119 RBIs and 100 runs, becoming the first Mets rookie to reach triple digits in both categories. No New York player had reached those totals in any season since David Wrightand Carlos Beltranin 2008. The 119 RBIs put Alonso just five away from matching Wright’s all-time single-season franchise record.

“He’s been outstanding,” Callaway said. “There’s just something about Pete that draws everybody in.”

Alonso’s 52nd homer also tied him with for second-most all time in a player’s first season with a team. Alex Rodriguezhit 52 in 2001, his first season with the Texas Rangers. Babe Ruth holds the record with 54 homers for the Yankees in 1920, after he was traded from the Boston Red Sox.

New York trailed the National League East-champion Braves 2-1 after Alonso’s homer.

In a record season for home runs in the majors, Alonso’s long ball feat wasn’t the only one achieved Tuesday night. The Yankees got in on the fun when they became the second team in MLB history with 300 homers in a season. They joined the Minnesota Twins, who reached the mark on Thursday.

Pete Alonso Sets New York Mets Single-Season Home Run Record

Pete Alonso has reached anothermilestone in his young Major League Baseball career…

The 24-year-old part-Spanish American New York Mets first baseman, the odds-on favorite to win National League Rookie of the Year, set the single-season franchise record by hitting his 42nd home run on Tuesday.

Alonso took an outside fastball from Chicago Cubs starter Yu Darvish deep to right field to lead off the fourth inning. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Alonso is the first rookie to set the franchise mark for his team since Johnny Rizzo did it for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1938.

“As soon as that ball came off my bat, I knew right away,” Alonso said after the game. “I mean it’s become a dream come true so far this year and I just feel really blessed.”

Alonso received a curtain call for his record-setting blast, which gave the Mets a 1-0 lead.

The previous franchise mark of 41 home runs was set by Todd Hundleyin 1996 and matched by Carlos Beltranin 2006.

“It’s a pleasure to have a fine young player like Pete Alonso break my record,” Beltran said in a statement. “I have not met Pete personally, but people have told me he plays the game with passion and doesn’t give up on any at-bat. He has had great success in his first year. Again, my congrats, Pete.”

Hundley also praised Alonso.

“To me, he’s more than a power hitter, he’s a pure hitter,” Hundley said in a statement. “I have seen five or six of his games and he keeps getting better and better. He has just had a tremendous year. Congrats, Pete, you deserve all the records you have broken.”

Alonso’s homer was his lone hit in four at-bats, and the Cubs rallied to win 5-2.

Earlier this month, Alonso set the National League rookie record for homers in a season, previously set by Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgersin 2017. Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees holds the major league record for home runs in a season by a rookie with 52 in 2017.

“It’s crazy to think the small selection of people that get to actually play in the big leagues and the even smaller selection of people that get to those milestones and it’s mind-boggling,” Alonso said. “I just wanna keep being Pete Alonso and just stay true to who I am and stay true to who I am not just as a person but as a player.”

Pete Alonso Sets National League Rookie Record for Home Runs in a Season

Pete Alonso is the rookie on top…

The 24-year-old part-Spanish American professional baseball player, a first baseman for the New York Mets, hit his 40th home run of the season on Sunday to set the National League rookie record for home runs in a season.

Alonso homered to left field in the ninth inning. The 418-foot blast off the Kansas City Royals‘ Jacob Barnes broke a tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ Cody Bellinger for most home runs by a NL rookie in a season.

Bellinger hit 39 home runs in 2017.

“It’s crazy,” Alonso said after the Mets’ 11-5 victory when asked about setting the record. “I just gotta go back to the days of spring training when I didn’t know if I was gonna make the team out of camp or not. I’m just extremely thankful for this opportunity, and this has been such an incredible year. I just wanna keep building and help this team win.”

Alonso quickly fell behind 0-2 in the count, but when Barnes threw a high fastball, he didn’t miss.

“I was just trying to hit the ball hard like I have been,” said Alonso, who is the first Mets player to hit 40 home runs in a season sinceCarlos Beltranhit 41 in 2006. “Take good, quality swings at good pitches and, thankfully, he gave me a fastball up in the zone, which I like to swing at.”

The result was a no-doubt shot over the bullpen in left field that snapped the tie with Bellinger, who hit the 39-home run mark on the way to winning Rookie of the Year honors in 2017.

“It was a pretty grand one,” New York manager Mickey Callawaysaid. “It went a long way, it seemed like.”

Bellinger took to Twitter after Sunday’s action to congratulate Alonso on breaking his record.

Next up for Alonso is the Mets’ season record of 41 home runs set by Todd Hundleyin 1996 and equaled by Beltran a decade later.

“That’s even more mind-boggling,” Alonso said. “I’m just really grateful. Grateful and thankful and happy that I’ve had this opportunity.”

With the home run, Alonso improved to 3-for-4 in the Mets’ victory over the Kansas City Royals, with three runs and two RBIs.

The victory pulled the Mets (64-60) into a three-way tie in the NL wild-card chase, 1½ games behind the Chicago Cubs, who hold the second wild-card spot.

The New York Yankees‘ Aaron Judge holds the major league record for home runs in a season by a rookie, with 52 in 2017.

Pete Alonso Ties National League Rookie Home Run Record

Pete Alonso is having a banner rookie season…

With 42 games left to play, the 24-year-old part-Spanish American professional baseball player’s season already ranks among the more productive campaigns in New York Mets history. 

Pete Alonso

Alonso has owned the franchise’s rookie home run record for weeks; Thursday, in a 10-8 win over the Atlanta Braves, he hit his 39th to match Cody Bellinger for the most by a rookie in National League history.

Passing Bellinger seems a foregone conclusion, as does the Mets’ overall franchise record for homers: 41, which Todd Hundley and Carlos Beltran share.

Beyond that, two significant standards loom: the Major League rookie home run record, which Aaron Judgeset with 52 in 2017, and the Mets’ overall RBI record, which Mike Piazzaand David Wrightshare with 124. Alonso is just ahead of the pace needed to set the former, and a hair behind the rate required for the latter.

“There are a lot of records out there,” Mets manager Mickey Callawaysaid. “I know he’s not too worried about that. He just wants to put together good at-bats and play good defense. But he’s stockpiling them.”

Many of Alonso’s home runs have resembled the one he hit Thursday: a 110.6-mph, 451-foot shot to straightaway center field, according to Statcastdata, one of nine he has hit at least 440 feet this season. (No Major Leaguer has more.) Alonso also singled home two runs in the fifth inning and another in the seventh, finishing with a career-high five hits and six RBIs. He and shortstop Amed Rosariobecame the first pair of Mets to collect five hits in the same game in franchise history, while Rosario became just the sixth to have four-plus hits in multiple games.

“I’m really happy,” Rosario said through an interpreter, “but I’m also really happy for him because he was able to tie the rookie record for home runs.”

Over the past three weeks, Alonso has gone deep even more frequently than he did before the break.

“I want to be the best version of myself every single day,” Alonso said. “Baseball’s a game of failure, and that’s really difficult to do and maintain throughout 162 games. I felt like the second half, it really hasn’t been what I’ve wanted after having the first half I had. … I was kind of just frustrated after a while because I know that I’m better.”

Games like Thursday provide the proof. Record books already hold the evidence. Time will tell how many all-time marks Alonso will ultimately set, though he’s about to have one more all to himself.

“I don’t stand alone,” Alonso said of the NL rookie record. “I’m tied. Hopefully, I keep on going and keep pushing forward. Hopefully, I can stand alone in that category.”

Detroit Tigers Designated Hitter Victor Martinez Registers 2,000th Career Hit

And the hits just keep coming for Victor Martinez

The 38-year-old Venezuelan baseball player, a designated hitter and first baseman for the Detroit Tigers, reached 2,000 career hits on Friday night.

Victor Martinez

Martinez, heard the crowd roar and felt his heart swell, as he picked up the milestone hit on the same field where he began his MLB career, against the franchise that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela.

Detroit’s switch-hitter singled in the second inning off Cleveland IndiansCarlos Carrasco to reach the plateau. After reaching first base, Martinez received a lengthy standing ovation from the large Cleveland crowd, fans that adored him during his eight seasons with the Indians from 2002-09.

Martinez hugged Detroit first-base coach Omar Vizquel, his teammate in Cleveland and a fellow Venezuelan, before tipping his cap to the crowd. Players on both benches applauded and the game was briefly halted to acknowledge the feat.

“It’s special to have it done here,” Martinez said following the Tigers’ 11-2 loss. “For me, it was even better. Nothing against the Indians, I feel like it’s where everything started for me. I will always remember this day, until I die. What the fans did to me with that ovation. It made me feel so proud and so good that they stand up for me. I just want to let them know too that I will always have the Indians in my heart, always.”

Martinez is the ninth active player to reach 2,000 hits, joining Ichiro Suzuki, Adrian Beltre, Albert Pujols, Carlos Beltran, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Matt Holliday and Jose Reyes.

To attain the milestone in Cleveland and with Vizquel, the career hits leader among Venezuelan-born players, at his side made it even more meaningful for Martinez.

“He congratulated me and told me it was awesome, and at the same time, I wasn’t hearing and stuff,” Martinez said. “It was a pretty cool moment.”

Martinez was a three-time All-Star with the Indians, who signed him in 1996. He broke down in tears when Cleveland traded him to the Boston Red Sox at the deadline in 2009 for three pitchers.

And although he’s had a long run with the Tigers, Cleveland will remain dear to Martinez.

“This is my seventh year in Detroit, but this was a place that I called home, and I’m always going to have Cleveland in my heart,” he said. “It was the team that gave me a chance to be a professional baseball player, gave me a chance to become a major leaguer. It’s a pretty special place.”

Martinez, too, is a pretty special hitter.

He entered the season with a .301 career average and the five-time All-Star has been one of the game’s toughest outs from the day he broke into the big leagues.

“There aren’t a lot of people who can say they got 2,000 major league hits,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “He probably grinded out every single one of those at-bats to get those hits. It’s something he should be proud of.”

Beltrán Named This Year’s Recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award

Carlos Beltrán may need a larger trophy mantle…

The 36-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball star, an outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, has been named this year’s recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award.

Carlos Beltrán

Beltrán, a three-time Golden Glove Award, two-time Silver Slugger Award and two-time Fielding Bible Award winner, was seated next to Clemente’s widow, Vera, when he was honored on Saturday, about an hour prior to Game 3 of the World Series against the Boston Red Sox. Members of Clemente’s family also attended the news conference.

“I must say this year’s recipient truly exemplifies Roberto’s philosophy,” said Vera Clemente. “Carlos Beltrán, you are the pride of all Puerto Ricans.”

Beltrán has contributed more than $4 million to his Carlos Beltran Academy in Puerto Rico and has hosted fundraising efforts throughout the year.

“A leader by example on the field, Carlos has demonstrated his leadership off the field as well,” said Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. “The academy has made a real difference in the lives of young men in Puerto Rico.”

The award recognizes the player whose contributions on and off the field best represent the game. The award was named for the Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Famer  who died on December 31, 1972, in a plane crash while on a humanitarian mission to assist earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

Beltran grew up idolizing Clemente’s achievements.

“I never got a chance to watch him play or anything like that,” Beltran said. “When I was a kid I always wanted to be like him, having an opportunity to play baseball and having an opportunity to give back.”

More than 1.3 million fans voted online with results taken into consideration.

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw won the award last year, and David Ortiz of the Red Sox won in 2011.

Beltran Makes Baseball History

St. Louis CardinalsCarlos Beltran’s name will appear in baseball’s history books from now on…

The 35-year-old Puerto Rican baseball star has become the first switch-hitter in baseball to have notched 300 stolen bases and 300 home runs.

Carlos Beltran

Beltran stole second base during Friday night’s game against the Kansas City Royals, the team that drafted him as a teenager out of Puerto Rico.

It was his seventh swipe of the season and his 300th in 343 attempts.

Play was stopped and second base was pulled to celebrate.

Only eight players have reached the 300-300 club. Barry Bonds and his father Bobby Bonds, Andre Dawson, Steve Finley and the “Say Hey Kid” Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez and Reggie Sanders.

“I just have to thank God for the opportunity of being able to play this game for a long time. All the glory is for him,” the 35-year-old outfielder said according to MLB.com.

Beltran currently leads the National League with 19 homers.

Houston Astros Officially Sign Correa‎

Signed, sealed, delivered! Following his historic first round pick in the MLB draft, Carlos Correa has agreed to a contract with the Houston Astros for a signing bonus of $4.8 million.

The 17-year-old Puerto Rican shortstop was at Minute Maid Park on Thursday for the official announcement and met with players and took batting practice with the team.

Carlos Correa

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have him as a part of our organization,” said Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow. “It’s a monumental day for us and for him and for the city of Houston. We’re delighted.”

Correa picked the No. 12 jersey he donned on Thursday because he was the top pick in 2012 and because he admires fellow Puerto Rican player Roberto Alomar, who wore the number.

Carlos Correa

Correa will head back to Puerto Rico to graduate from high school this weekend before joining the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League on Tuesday. And, he’s thrilled to be able to get a deal done quickly so he can begin his baseball career.

“It means a lot,” said Correa. “I want to play baseball. I want to play for the Houston Astros. I don’t want to lose time. I feel comfortable signing early. I like this team. I just want to work hard.”

Correa is the highest draft pick ever from Puerto Rico. And, he’s also the first shortstop to get drafted first overall since Tampa Bay selected Tim Beckham in 2008, and the fourth shortstop taken with the top pick since 1994.

St. Louis Cardinals players Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina, both from Puerto Rico, came onto the field early before their game against the Astros to meet Correa and talk to and pose for pictures with his family. Beltran was excited that Correa was chosen first in the draft.

“It really means a lot,” said Beltran, adding that he called to congratulate him on draft night. “I think Correa is a hero in Puerto Rico being the first pick overall. At the same time, it’s going to motivate a lot of kids back home in Puerto Rico to continue to play the game of baseball.”

The Astros, who fell to a franchise-worst 56-106 last season to earn the top pick, are hoping Correa develops into a superstar. And he seems ready for the challenge.

“I just want to get to the big league level the quickest that I can,” said the baseball phenom. “I want to be a leader. I want to be the face of the franchise. That’s what I want as a player. I will work hard right now to be a great player, an impact player in the big leagues.”

Correa Becomes the MLB’s First Puerto Rican No. 1 Draft Pick

He’s only 17-year-old… But Carlos Correa has already made it into annals of baseball…

The Houston Astros selected the Puerto Rican baseball phenom as the No. 1 pick Monday night, making him the first player from Puerto Rico to lead off the Major League Baseball draft.

Carlos Correa

“This means a lot,” said Correa, who was all smiles when he heard his name called, knowing he’d made hometown history at the baseball draft. “We’ve got a lot of good players there.”

Despite producing its share of baseball royalty like Roberto Clemente, Ivan Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Juan Gonzalez and Bernie Williams, Correa is the first selection from Puerto Rico. Some of those players signed as free agents — catcher Ramon Castro had been the highest-drafted player out of Puerto Rico, going No. 17 to Houston in 1994.

“I feel so excited to be the No. 1 pick,” said Correa, who was congratulated by Delgado on Twitter. “I’ve worked so hard to be here.”

It was the first time Houston had the top pick in the draft since 1992, when the Astros selected Phil Nevin — passing on future star Derek Jeter, who went five spots later to the New York Yankees.

“I have read about that,” said Correa, calling Jeter his idol. “I want to be like him. He’s awesome.”

Carlos Correa

First-year Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Correa “has a chance to be a star” who could hit 20-30 home runs in the pros, whether it’s in his current role as a shortstop or “ultimately maybe third base.”

Correa said he’d like to stay at shortstop and plans to use his signing bonus to help his family.

As he walked to the podium and shook hands with commissioner Bud Selig before a brief hug, Correa pulled out a small Puerto Rican flag and held it up to cheers from the crowd of major league representatives and fans gathered in the stadium-themed studio.

While recent drafts lacked first-pick intrigue, Luhnow said the Astros didn’t settle on Correa until about an hour before they went on the clock. Several mock draft lists predicted the Astros would select Stanford right-hander Mark Appel, but instead Houston made a somewhat surprising selection — although Correa was considered one of the top five players available.

Correa, who has an incredibly strong arm and terrific instincts on defense, may be the highly sought after “big-time bat” for the middle of Astros lineup. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound star from Santa Isabel was a star at the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. He’s committed to the University of Miami, but will likely head to Houston’s farm system instead.

“Right now, he stays at shortstop and if he was to happen to grow out of it, it’s the power that’s the attraction here and it’s the middle of the order potential impact bat,” Astros scouting director and assistant general manager Bobby Heck said. “So if he has to move, his profile is still very, very strong.”

Meanwhile, Florida high school outfielder Albert Almora was selected sixth by the Chicago Cubs.

“I’m speechless,” said Almora by phone in an interview with MLB.com, about an hour after the 18-year-old was drafted. “I don’t remember much of anything that happened tonight. I know that the Cubs drafted me, and I’m grateful, but I’m still kind of shocked and overwhelmed.”

The first round and the compensation rounds are completed Monday night, with rounds 2 through 40 conducted over the next two days via conference call with the teams.