New York Mets

Pete Alonso sets new standard for rookie sluggers

When New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso hit a 415-foot home run to center field on Saturday, he became the new rookie home run king

Pete Alonso now stands alone atop the all-time rookie home run list.

The New York Mets first baseman hit his 53rd home run of the season on Saturday off Atlanta Braves’ pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, breaking a tie with the Yankees’ Aaron Judge for most home runs by a rookie in MLB history.

Alonso tied Judge with his 52nd home run on Friday and had two more games on the season to take sole possession of the record. He struck out swinging in his first at-bat against Foltynewicz, but got another chance in the bottom of the third inning at Citi Field. On a 2-1 count, Foltynewicz threw Alonso a 92 m.p.h. fastball down the middle. Alonso didn’t miss this time, hitting a 415-foot home run to straightaway center field to put the Mets up 3-0.

As he rounded first base, Alonso raised both arms in the air in recognition of the new mark he had just established. Even when he came back out for the top of the fourth he was still showing the emotions of the moment.

Alonso’s achievement is the result of a season-long run toward immortality. He hit 30 home runs before the All-Star break, one off Christian Yelich’s league lead. During the break, he sent 57 balls out of Cleveland’s Progressive Field and won the Home Run Derby. He’s now second in the NL in the second half with 23 home runs, behind only Eugenio Suarez of the Reds with 29. He’s hit 12 in September, the most in baseball during that span.

He’s already made his mark all over the Mets record book. His 53 home runs are 12 more than the previous franchise record. The home run was also his 120th RBI on the season, third on the Mets all-time single-season list and four off the franchise record held by Mike Piazza and David Wright. He’s only the second player in Mets history to reach triple digits in both RBI and runs scored, joining Carlos Beltran in 2006.

Alonso now has a four-homer advantage over Suarez for the MLB lead. He’s on pace to be the first rookie to lead the NL in home runs since Ralph Kiner in 1946. He would be only the third rookie since the start of the 20th century to lead MLB in home runs, joining Mark McGwire (1987) and Tim Jordan (1906). It’s only the 12th season of at least 53 home runs in NL history.

The Mets (84-76) won’t make the playoffs, but Alonso has already made this a season to remember in Queens. In a year that’s seen a record-number of home runs hit across baseball, it’s a rookie who leads them all and has now etched his name in baseball’s history books.

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