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.”

New York Mets Slugger Pete Alonso Breaks MLB’s Rookie Home Run Record

Pete Alonso has done it…

The 24-year-old part-Spanish American New York Mets slugger, nicknamed “Polar Bear,” has broken Major League Baseball‘s rookie home run record.

Pete Alonso

Alonso hit his 53rd home run during Saturday’s game against the Atlanta Braves. The record-breaking blast came in the third inning against Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz.

The fan favorite and 2019 Home Run Derby champion raised his arms to the sky as the ball soared over the wall at New York’s Citi Field. Mets fans gave him a standing ovation as he rounded the bases.

“To be a part of Major League Baseball history, to be number one out of every single guy that ever played the game, it’s humbling and it’s such just a ridiculously awesome feeling,” an emotional Alonso told reporters after the game. “That moment was just pure magic.”

“I didn’t know that I was going to be overcome with all that emotion,” added Alonso, who got teary on the field as fans cheered him. “At that point, might as well just let it out.”

Alonso bested another New York player – New York Yankees star Aaron Judge — in becoming MLB‘s all-time home run leader for rookies. The Yankees outfielder had set the record in 2017 with 52 home runs.

The Mets won Saturday’s game 3-0. Although the team was officially eliminated from postseason contention earlier this week, at least Alonso gave their fans something to celebrate.

Pete Alonso Defeats Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in a Battle of Rookies to Win Home Run Derby

Pete Alonsois officially a home run champion…

The 24-year-old part-Spanish American professional baseball player, a first baseman for the New York Mets, outslugged the Toronto Blue Jays‘ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in a battle of rookies to win the Home Run Derby at Cleveland’s Progressive Field on Monday night.

Pete Alonso

Guerrero had broken the Derby’s single-round record in each of the first two rounds, but after surviving an exhausting duel with Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the semifinal round, Guerrero didn’t have enough to beat Alonso in the final.

The Blue Jays rookie, trying to follow in the footsteps of his Hall of Famefather, who won the event in San Francisco in 2007, went first in the final, and after initially struggling to duplicate his earlier pace, he picked it up after calling a second timeout and finished with 22 home runs.

Alonso, unique in the competition in sending most of his hits toward center field, then followed with 23 to spare to end it with plenty of time. 

He became the first Met to win the event since Darryl Strawberrywas a co-champion in 1986.

“That was a blast. Oh my god, that was a blast,” Alonso said after his win. “I’m gonna remember that for the rest of my life.”

With the win came a cool $1 million bonus to supplement Alonso’s base salary of $555,000. 

He said he would donate 10% of his winnings between two charities, the Wounded Warriors Projectand the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

“I have the utmost respect for the people that put their lives on the line every single day — and I just wanna show my gratitude, because a bad day for me is a lot different than a bad day for the servicemen and women that serve this country,” Alonso said.

Guerrero has eight major league home runs in his rookie year, and he hit 44 total homers in the minors. But at the Derby, he hit 91.

The biggest drama of the night came in the semifinal round, when he needed three tiebreakers to eliminate Pederson 40-39.

Before this year’s Derby, only six players had hit 40 home runs in an entire event, much less a single round.

“I feel bad for him,” an exhausted Pederson said after his final swing. “He’s gotta keep hitting; I’m toast.”

Pederson, who lost in the final as a rookie in 2015, now has the most combined home runs at the Derby all time, with 99, while Guerrero — in his first appearance — tied the previous record of 91 held by Todd Frazier, who also competed twice.Guerrero did have the honor of hitting the longest homer of the night, 488 feet, in the second round. That netted him a $100,000 bonus to go with his $500,000 for finishing second, which more than equals his season’s salary of $468

Pitbull to Perform at This Week’s MLB All-Star Events

Pitbull is preparing for an All-Star affair…

The 36-year-old Cuban-American rap superstar will perform during ceremonies Monday night before the Major League Baseball’s All-Star Home Run Derby.

Pitbull

Bebe Rexha will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” Tuesday night before the All-Star Game at Marlins Park and Jocelyn Alice will sing “O Canada.”

Jennifer Hudson will sing at a private party in Miami Beach hosted by Stand Up to Cancer and Mastercard on Sunday night, when there also will be a New Era event with Amine and Metro Boomin.

Lenny Kravitz will perform Monday night at the Major League Baseball Players Association party in Miami.

Rapper Lil Jon was to perform at the All-Star 5K on Saturday night and Don Omar at the All-Star Zumba experience on Sunday, when Flo Rida is to give a show at Marlins Park between the All-Star Futures Game and the celebrity softball game.

Stanton Returns to the U.S. World Baseball Classic Roster

Giancarlo Stanton is back on Team USA

The 27-year-old part-Puerto Rican baseball star, a right fielder for the Miami Marlins, is among the returnees on the 28-man U.S. World Baseball Classic roster, which also includes Colorado Rockies‘ Nolan Arenado, Arizona Diamondbacks‘ Paul Goldschmidt, San Francisco Giants‘ Buster Posey and Pittsburgh Pirates‘ Andrew McCutchen.

Giancarlo Stanton

The roster, announced Wednesday by USA Baseball, includes 18 All-Stars, two MVPs and nine Gold Glove winners.

Stanton, a three-time Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star, won the Silver Slugger Award and National League Hank Aaron Award in 2014.

Stanton was the Home Run Derby champion in 2016.

Stanton Hits Record 61 Homers to Win All-Star Home Run Derby

Giancarlo Stanton is this year’s Home Run King…

The 26-year-old part-Puerto Rican baseball star put on a record display of power at Petco Park during the All-Star Home Run Derby on Monday night, peppering every landmark from the left field corner to center field.

Giancarlo Stanton

Stanton hit 20 homers in the final round to beat out defending champion Todd Frazier of the Chicago White Sox. Overall, the Miami Marlins slugger hit a record 61, shattering the single-night mark of 41 by Bobby Abreu in 2005.

Stanton’s impressive shots hit the top level of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building in the left-field corner and the top of the batter’s eye in center field.

He sent several balls just below the giant scoreboard high atop the left-field stands and several over the bullpens in left-center.

“For sure, being on the West Coast and taking the flight out here just for this, you know. I figure it’s a waste if I don’t bring this bad boy home,” Stanton said, hoisting the trophy.

The three-time All-Star is not on the National League roster for Tuesday night’s game after batting .233 with 20 homers and 50 RBIs before the break.

“I had a great time. I had a blast.”

His longest shot was estimated at 497 feet. He hit the eight longest homers of the competition and 20 of the 21 deepest drives.

“When I get a few in a row I would kind of bump it up 5 to 10 percent,” he said. “But most the time I stuck at 80-90 percent. I knew I could do it endurance-wise. I was just hoping my swing didn’t fall about.”

Stanton can defend his title at home next year when the Marlins host the All-Star Game.

“That is where I got my childhood memories, watching the Home Run Derby as a kid,” said Stanton, who’s from Los Angeles.

“Maybe some kids are watching me. I would like to return that.”

Stanton is baseball’s highest-paid player with a $325 million, 13-year deal. His new hitting coach is home run king Barry Bonds.

Stanton hit 24 homers in the first round to eliminate the Seattle MarinersRobinson Cano (seven) and 17 in the semifinals to knock out Mark Trumbo (14) of the Baltimore Orioles.

Frazier hit 13 in the first round to beat Carlos Gonzalez (12) of the Colorado Rockies, and 16 in the semifinals to eliminate Adam Duvall (15) of the Reds.

Pujols to Participate in This Year’s All-Star Home Run Derby

Albert Pujols is coming out swinging…

The 35-year-old Dominican professional baseball player has announced that he’ll take part in this year’s All-Star Home Run Derby.

Albert Pujols

Pujols, the Los Angeles Angels‘ first baseman, says he talked with Major League Baseball and confirmed he’ll be one of the hitters for the event Monday in Cincinnati.

The All-Star Game is the next night.

“I’m going to give it one last chance,” Pujols said Tuesday. “The good thing with Major League Baseball is they allow us to bring our kids onto the field on practice day so they’ll be able to enjoy that. They’ll have a great time and meet the players they get to watch every day.”

Pujols said he wanted to be a part of the competition after being picked for the AL All-Star team this week. He’ll start in place of Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera, who went on the disabled list for the first time in his career with a strained calf.

Pujols declined to be in the Home Run Derby last year because he wasn’t playing in the All-Star Game.

“You want to be in the game,” he said. “That’s the most important thing because you want to be able to have a chance to help the American League have home field advantage.”

This will be Pujols’ fourth time competing in the Home Run Derby. He reached the semifinal in 2003, 2007 and 2009 but has never won the event.

He said he’s looking forward to the new format. Instead of being given a number of outs per round each player will have five minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The clock will stop after home run balls land in the final minute.

Players can earn an extra minute if they hit two home runs that land 420 feet or more and 30 seconds for each blast that lands 475 feet or more. The maximum bonus time a player can get is 1:30.

“If anything it’ll be better because you don’t have to sit around so much like you did in the past,” he said. “If I hit in the first round we had to wait until everybody hit and sometimes you sat an hour and a half, two hours.”

Pujols entered Tuesday leading the American League with 25 home runs.

Cespedes Wins the Home Run Derby Crown for Second Straight Year

Yoenis Cespedes’ reign at the Home Run Derby continues…

The 28-year-old Cuban baseball star, an outfielder for the Oakland Athletics, has become the first repeat winner of the All-Star skills contest in 15 years.

Yoenis Cespedes

Cespedes powered his way past the Cincinnati RedsTodd Frazier 9-1 in the final round Monday night to successfully defend his title.

Ken Griffey Jr. was the last back-to-back winner, taking the title in 1998 and 1999.

With a serious, determined look on his face the entire time, Cespedes finished with 28 homers. That was four fewer than last year, when he beat the Washington NationalsBryce Harper 9-8 in the final round.

Cespedes even told Athletics teammate Josh Donaldson he was doing this wrong.

“I knew he wasn’t going to win because his mentality was to take the ball out of the stadium, and I told him that is not the way you win this competition,” Cespedes said through an interpreter.

He added: “I’m somebody who’s very conscious of the power that I have. So I don’t need to put more of a swing or more of an effort in order to hit a home run. I just have to look for a good pitch and put a good swing on it, and it usually takes care of it.”

Cespedes saved his best for last, a 452-foot blast to the third deck above left field that officially measured as the longest shot of the night.

A’s third-base coach Mike Gallego again pitched to Cespedes, who went deep 32 times in last year’s derby at Citi Field in New York. Gallego’s arm looked nearly out of gas by the final round.

“Maybe next year I’ll put up a better showing at the end,” Frazier said. “Now that I understand, maybe I’ll do a couple of more push-ups.”

Cespedes topped Toronto’s Jose Bautista and Frazier surprisingly beat Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton in the semifinals.

Blacc to Perform at This Year’s MLB Home Run Derby

Aloe Blacc has scored a game-winning gig…

The 35-year-old Panamanian-American singer, who recently announced plans to release an enhanced version of his latest album Lift Your Spirit, will perform during baseball’s big weekend.

Aloe Blacc

Blacc will take the stage during Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby on July 14. The event will air on ESPN.

No word yet on what song or songs Blacc will perform during the festivities.

Meanwhile, Tony-winning performerIdina Menzel will sing the national anthem at the MLB All-Star Game on July 15 in Minneapolis. She’ll also perform during the pre-game ceremony, including a cover of Bob Dylan‘s “Forever Young.”

The game at Target Field will air on Fox, where country singer Joe Nichols will sing “God Bless America.”

MLB All-Star week will also include a Saturday concert by Grammy-winning rockers Imagine Dragons at the TCF Bank Stadium. A day later, Panic! At the Disco will perform at the All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game at Target Field.

Anthony to Perform “God Bless America” at MLB All-Star Game

Marc Anthony is preparing for an all-star performance…

The 44-year-old Puerto Rican singer will perform “God Bless America” during the seventh inning of the upcoming MLB All-Star Game, which will take place on July 16 and be broadcast live on Fox.

Marc Anthony

Anthony, whose salsa song “Vivir Mi Vida” has been No. 1 for the eight consecutive weeks on Billboard‘s Hot Latin Songs chart, has gained acclaim for performing the national anthem, including a show-stopping performance of the “Star-Spangled Banner at the 2011 NBA Finals.

Meanwhile, Anthony’s “Rain Over Me” co-collaborator Pitbull will also make at appearance at the big game.

The 32-year-old Cuban American rap superstar will warm up the crowd at the Home Run Derby, taking place July 15 and airing on ESPN.

Mr. Worldwide will perform his hits “Don’t Stop the Party” and “Feel This Moment.”

American Idol winner Candace Glover will sing the national anthem before the start of the all-star game.