Pete Alonso stepped into the batter’s box, waggled his bat once and watched a fastball from Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Foltynewicz come down the heart of the plate. Alonso stepped through, transferred his weight forward and effortlessly sent the pitch sailing in the opposite direction. The ball dropped over the right-center field wall and caused Citi Field to erupt in celebration.
Their rookie sensation had just broken the single season home run record. It was Alonso’s 53rd home run of the season, breaking Aaron Judge’s record of 52. It was a fitting end to a remarkable season for the former Gator baseball player.
Now, he can add something else to his list of accomplishments: NL Rookie of the Year.
— Pete Alonso (@Pete_Alonso20) November 12, 2019
Alonso became the first former Gator to win a MLB rookie of the year award. He finished the season with 120 RBI’s and hit .260. His 53 home runs not only led the NL, but it was highest total in the MLB this past season.
He was thrown into the fire immediately, starting on opening day and having to face one of the game’s aces in his first plate appearance.
Alonso, nicknamed the Polar Bear, went 1-4 that day. However, The rookie was never fazed by the big stage. The Polar Bear was hitting .292 and belted nine home runs through the first month of the season. Fortuitous for what the rest of the season had in store.
He had a bright future ahead of him while playing ball at the University of Florida. Despite dealing with multiple injuries throughout his career, Alonso hit .316 over three seasons for the Gators. His junior season was his finest as he hit .374 and mashed 14 home runs. The accolades resulted in a second-round selection in the 2016 MLB draft by the New York Mets.
The passion for the game fuels Alonso. It drives him to have that competitive drive that pushes him to be better every time he steps onto the diamond.
— New York Mets (@Mets) November 12, 2019
The Mets missed the postseason in 2019, but with Alonso back for his second season, there’s plenty of talent to make a postseason push.