Pete Alonso thrust his arms into the air as the ball descended toward the fans seated beyond the fence in right-center at Citi Field.
With an uppercut swing on a Saturday night in the third inning, the Mets slugger stood alone as the all-time leader in homers for a rookie. Homer No. 53 moved Alonso ahead of Aaron Judge for the record.
The theme from “The Natural” blared as Alonso rounded the bases after blasting a 2-1 pitch from Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz in Alonso’s second plate appearance of the night. After touching home plate, Alonso stood outside the Mets dugout and saluted the crowd giving him a standing ovation. Hugs were waiting from teammates inside the dugout.
When Alonso returned to first base for the fourth inning, he was moved to tears.
“To be a part of major league baseball history, to be No. 1 out of every single guy that played the game, it’s humbling and it’s such a ridiculously awesome feeling,” Alonso said after the Mets beat the Braves 3-0. “That moment was pure magic.”
A night earlier Alonso homered to tie the record established by Judge in 2017. Earlier this season Alonso broke Cody Bellinger’s NL record for homers by a rookie. He also shattered the Mets’ single-season record for homers, shared by Todd Hundley and Carlos Beltran. The Mets have never had a single-season home run champion, but Alonso moved four ahead of the Reds’ Eugenio Suarez for the major league lead.
“The fans came here to see something historic, and they got what they wanted to see,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “It’s like he never lets you down. He’s a fantastic guy. You can see it in his face how genuine everything and every emotion he has is.”
Alonso was presented his historic home-run ball by the fan who caught it. Alonso met with the fan and his family, taking them on the field before he signed various items for them.
Alonso had to earn a spot on the Mets’ roster in spring training. After hitting his first major league homer in April, in Miami, he was stuffed into a laundry cart and doused with various ingredients before getting pushed into the shower.
“It felt like yesterday I was getting raw eggs put on my head, mustard, flour, soap, whatever anybody could find,” Alonso said. “And 52 later, this is crazy. That seems like forever ago and I’m just really thankful and the fans were absolutely electric tonight. To make that many people happy with one swing, it’s a real special feeling.”
Judge told reporters in Texas Friday that he wants to buy dinner for Alonso. When asked Saturday about Alonso setting the record, Judge said, “Pretty cool accomplishment. Good for him.” -where Alonso won the Home Run Derby — but have never socialized away from the field.
“Is he paying for it, but also is he picking where we’re eating or am I picking?” Alonso said. “I’ll talk to him, but if he’s picking the place, it’s probably McDonald’s or something because I eat a lot. But if I get to pick and it’s on him, then it may be Peter Luger’s or something.”
Only making the night sweeter for Alonso was the fact his family was present, including his mother, father and fiancée.
“He’s really passionate. He’s not moved to tears often,” Alonso’s mother Michelle told Fox. “He has a lot of fun, but he’s real serious about what he does. So for him to be moved to tears warms my heart because I was certainly balling in my seat at the moment at the same time. It was a family cry fest.”
Aaron Judge on Pete Alonso: There’s ‘no better person’ to share rookie home run record with.
While fans of the New York Yankees and New York Mets will inevitably trade barbs after Pete Alonso broke Aaron Judge’s rookie home run record of 52, Judge himself has offered nothing but glowing praise for the up-and-coming slugger.
Speaking to the media following the Yankees’ 14-7 win against the Texas Rangers, Judge said there was “no better person to share” the record with, while offering a prediction that his record will fall on Saturday or Sunday.
From SNY: “No better person to share it with,” Judge said, “He’s eventually going to break it. I know that, for sure.” “I’m happy for him, man — I got a chance to meet him this year and talk with him a little bit, and no better individual to represent not only the Mets, but the city of New York,” Judge said of Alonso. “He’s going to do a lot of special things over his long career. So I’m excited for him, man. It’s just the beginning for him and the first of many records he’s going to break.”
It was just two years ago that Judge broke the previous rookie record of 49 home runs set by Mark McGwire in 1987. In doing so, he probably thought his record would stand just as long as McGwire’s, if not longer. But Alonso has taken MLB by storm much in the same manner Judge did in 2017.
To Judge’s credit, he realizes that records are made to be broken, and the more stars there are, the better off baseball will be. Particularly in New York. After all, Judge has never been one to demand the spotlight. He’s always the first one to share it, and his generous words on Alonso back that up.
‘Nothing wrong with friendly competition’
While Aaron Judge figures to be a Yankees cornerstone for years to come, the same is true of Alonso with the Mets. As such, their numbers are going to be compared and their careers debated perhaps well beyond their playing days. It’s inevitable. So they might as well embrace it now and have fun with it moving forward. That’s exactly how Alonso is looking at the situation.
From The New York Post:
There’s nothing wrong with some friendly competition,” Alonso said. “Some fans don’t think it’s friendly competition, but I feel that is really good for the city and to have good players not just here in Queens, but to have good players over there, I feel like that is a really good thing and a great thing for the city.
It’s a great thing for New York. It’s an even better thing for MLB to have two of baseball’s brightest stars battling under the bright lights of the world’s greatest city