Here is a complete list of major-leaguers who have hit more home runs as rookies than Pete Alonso:
That isn’t a typo. There is no list.
Alonso hit homer No. 52 Friday night in the Mets’ 4-2 win over the Braves, matching the single-season rookie record set by the Yankees’ Aaron Judge in 2017. With two games left in the season, he will have about eight at-bats to set a new standard.
In Arlington, Texas, Judge said: “No better person to share it with. He’s eventually going to break it, I know that for sure. 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.”
After the game, a downright giddy Alonso said he was trying to “wrap my mind around” his newfound place in MLB annals.
“When I think of guys in baseball history, I think of old-timey guys — Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds,” he said. “Jeez. To think as a rookie I hit more homers than everyone except for one guy, it’s nuts. It’s crazy.”
The blast came in the first inning against Atlanta lefthander Dallas Keuchel. Alonso got an 0-and-1 cutter on the inner half and pulled it down the leftfield line, just hard enough and just high enough to eclipse the orange line of demarcation that signals the official top of the wall.
As the ball bounced back onto the field, Alonso raised both arms — each index finger pointed skyward — and clapped his hands between first and second. By the time he rounded third, his beaming smile was obvious. He crossed the plate and was greeted by enthusiastic handshakes and hugs before he could reach the dugout.
“I can’t think of a happier time in my life playing baseball,” he said. “Unbelievable. When I was rounding the bases, I felt like a little kid. I was overcome with pure joy and emotion.”
When the Citi Field crowd of 26,264 demanded a curtain call, Alonso returned to the top step and doffed his cap.
The Mets got big efforts from Marcus Stroman (six innings, two runs) and J.D. Davis (go-ahead two-run homer), but every plate appearance by Alonso became the main attraction.
In the third, he sent a long fly ball foul down the leftfield line before drawing an eight-pitch walk. The crowd booed Keuchel. In the fourth, he popped to second. In the sixth, he struck out swinging. Most pitches in those sequences produced audible reactions from the fans.
“There’s just something about Pete that draws everybody in,” manager Mickey Callaway said.
At least one more homer would be an appropriate conclusion to a historic rookie year in which Alonso made the All-Star team, won the Home Run Derby, became the clear favorite for NL Rookie of the Year and set all sorts of franchise and MLB records, rookie or otherwise.
The Braves will start Mike Foltynewicz (4.46 ERA) on Saturday and Mike Soroka (2.60 ERA) on Sunday. Soroka is a Cy Young Award candidate behind Jacob deGrom and a Rookie of the Year candidate behind Alonso.
Callaway said he is considering batting Alonso leadoff for the sake of one potential extra at-bat.
“I think I led off one game when I was 9 or 10 or something, so I have some experience,” he said. “I’m for it. I’d do it.”
Alonso said it is easy to imagine him and Judge engaging in a homer-hitting New York City rivalry for years to come.
“There’s nothing wrong with some friendly competition,” Alonso said. “Well, some fans don’t think it’s friendly competition. There’s nothing wrong with competition.”
Said Judge, “Just the type of swing he has and watching some of his at-bats early on in the year, I was like, this kid, this one’s special. He’s got something about him. You saw his grit and determination in the Home Run Derby, too. He’s got that ‘it’ factor.”
Judge was told that Alonso said he’d like to go to dinner with him. “That’d be cool,’’ he said.
Who’s going to pay?
“I got this one covered,’’ Judge said, “but he’ll get the next one.’’
With Erik Boland
in Arlington, Texas