Pete Alonso: “For Me, It was Just The Start Of Something Great”

Pete Alonso, Mets Candidate, NL ROY (Photo: The Ringer)

Those were the words of the 64th pick in the June 2016 draft when John Franco announced his name as the newest member of the orange and blue…

Pete Alonso always wanted to be a New York Met. Alonso’s personal scout, Jon Updike, the Mets Florida area scout, had his doubts at times though, as Tim Britton of The Athletic writes:

“There’s always this romanticized idea that it’s like we’re driving through a cornfield and there’s a baseball field instead, and magically we find a player and sign him,” said Updike, the scout officially credited with signing Alonso. “It’s such a collaborative effort. It’s just a process.”Tim Britton, The Athletic

Pete Alonso: A “Process” Dotted With Failure

Dotted with failure, Pete Alonso‘s phrase, “the start of something great” proved to be correct. He struggled as a freshman at Florida State, emerged as an elite power threat in the Northwoods League that summer, then saw injuries limit him in his sophomore season. His draft stock took a tumble when he didn’t perform well in the Cape League the summer before his junior year. (The Athletic)

Some, including Updike, seriously questioned if Alonso had the stamina to perform at baseball’s highest levels. But it was Alonso who never doubted his ability to hit a baseball, far and wide. A broken hand didn’t help and there were questions about giving it all up.

Pete Alonso, Florida State, Before The Mets (Photo:
Pete Alonso, Florida State, Before The Mets (Photo:

Nevertheless, Updike never wavered, believing that Pete Alonso was willing to put in the hard work and all it would take to prove everyone wrong. Alonso did that, in spades.

Predicting victory for his team in the College World Series in his junior year, “Alonso homered in his first at-bat back from injury. He homered again two at-bats later. Alonso homered again in the deciding game of the super regional against Florida State. He hit another in his final college at-bat, believed to be the longest home run ever hit  at T.D. Ameritrade Stadium when the University of Florida fell to Texas Tech in the College World Series.”

The Mets Couldn’t Hide From These Numbers

As it went, in 2018, Pete Alonso would put some numbers no one, including the Met’s brass, could deny. Between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas (now Syracuse), Alonso put together a season averaging .285, with 36 home runs and 119 driven in. Greatness was calling.

And so it was ho-hum nothing new when Peter (soon to be Pete) Alonso arrived in the Mets camp earlier this year for Spring Training. Cast in a movie script battle for first base with Dominic Smith, Alonso deferred to the media about predictions as to who would win the job.

Privately, Pete Alonso took up on Smith’s declaration to “give the Mets no choice in the matter if we both play well.” The rest, as they say, is history, as both players are regulars in the Mets lineup, with Smith learning a new trade as the Mets left fielder.

Alonso’s Numbers: Already Dotted With Greatness

Meanwhile, Pete Alonso is putting up All-Star numbers in his rookie season (he gets my vote on the ballot, even over Pirate’s sensation, Josh Bell). Consider these record breakers (already):

Darryl Strawberry, New York Mets Photo Credit: L.A. Times
Darryl Strawberry, New York Mets Photo Credit: L.A. Times
  • He tied the MLB rookie record with 19 home runs before June 1st (Mark McGwire 1987)
  • Set a new Mets rookie record with 10 home runs in a single month
  • Tied the Mets record for extra-base hits (31) in the team’s first 55 games of the season (Edgardo Alfonzo2000)
  • The most multi-home run games (3) of any Mets player in his 1st 54 career games
  • The only other Met with even two multi-HR games in his 1st 54 is Benny Agbayani (metsmerizedonline)

And as we are reminded of what Pete Alonso said way back when he was drafted, “We’re just getting started”. Make no mistake though, he is not one to rest on his laurels, saying instead he is “humbled” by his accomplishments so far.

A workaholic of sorts, he tells Mike Puma of the New York Post, “I come to the park and I take pride in my prep work, not just doing video work, but getting in the cage and feeling right.”

Even more telling about Alonso’s work ethic are his visits with Chili Davis and Tom Slater, Mets hitting coaches, in which he wants reports not only on the pitcher he’ll be facing but the catcher as well. 

A novel approach? You betcha, as it demonstrates Alonso’s maturity in knowing the opposing catcher has as much to do with trying to get him out as the pitcher.

Dominic Smith & Pete Alonso Compete For Job 2019 (Photo: AJG
Dominic Smith & Pete Alonso Compete For Job 2019 (Photo: AJG

In a season filled with frustration and disappointment, Pete Alonso, along with Jeff McNeil and Dominic Smith, and from the pitching side, Steven Matz, provide hope for the future Mets fans (and the Mets themselves) are looking for.

The Rookie of the Year award is within Pete Alonso’s grasp as well as All-Star consideration. Joining Tom Seaver (1967), Jon Matlack (1972), Darryl Strawberry (1983), Dwight Gooden (1984), and Jacob deGrom (2014) would be a nice prize for the Alonso family.

But as it was when Pete Alonso was a college player at the University of Florida, dedicating himself and his team to win the College World Series, he’s here now to achieve “something great” – complete with a parade down Broadway treating Mets fans to their first World Championship since 1986. It’s not for me to bet against that happening.

A prime reason to watch the New York Mets (Video)…

Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.

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