CONEY ISLAND — Just three years ago during the 2016 Brooklyn Cyclone season, first baseman Pete Alonso gave fans a sneak peak into his future when he was chosen as one of the team’s three players to make the New York Penn League All Star team.
As a 2016 second round draft pick out of the University of Florida, the Tampa native batted .321 with five home runs and 21 RBIs before breaking his pinky in a 30-game, injury-shortened season with the Cyclones.
After batting an impressive .352 with four home runs in spring training, Alonso’s numbers earned him a spot on the Mets’ 25-man roster to open the 2019 season, and he was quickly dubbed “The Polar Bear” by teammate Todd Frasier to match his 6’3”, 230-pound burly frame. Alonso quickly put up impressive numbers to start the season and was named MLB’s April Rookie of the Month with nine home runs and 26 RBIs.
Carrying over his hot hitting to mid-season, Alonso was named to the National League All Star squad and also won the All Star Home Run Derby Contest by beating out Fernando Tatis Jr., another slugging rookie sensation.
By the end of this season, Alonso had compiled a .260 batting average, with 30 doubles, 53 home runs and 120 RBIs, which made him the front-runner for the National League’s Rookie of the Year Award.
Alonso’s 53 home runs were the most in Major League Baseball this season; he also broke the rookie record previously set by the Yankees’ Aaron Judge set in 2017. Winning the award makes Alonso the sixth New York Met to win the ROTY as he joins former winners Tom Seaver, Jon Matlack, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight “Doc” Gooden and Jacob deGrom.
Pointing out the Mets’ perennial search for a right-handed power hitter, Alonso’s 2016 Cyclone Manager Tom Gamboa stated in an April 2019 interview, “He’s just what the Mets need, a home run hitter that can also hit the ball wherever it’s pitched to all fields for average as well.”
Clearly, Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen agrees, stating during an SNY interview after Rookie of the Year honors were announced that Alonso can now be considered as a “cornerstone for an offensive renaissance for this team.”
After thanking his teammates, coaches and fans for their support, an elated Alonso characterized his experience as “awesome!” When asked what he’d do next season to top this award, Alonso emphatically answered, “Win a World Series.”