The New York Mets finished the 2019 season with a 86-76 record, good for third place in the National League East division but seven games away from a spot in the postseason. Despite that, they were actually in a playoff run for the entire month of August and most of September.
While the Mets tried to make October baseball, first baseman Pete Alonso was on a record-breaking home run pace. He ended up smashing the previous mark for a rookie, finishing with 53.
This week, the reigning Rookie of the Year explained, in the Cookie Club (cited by SNY) that he pressed for a week after hitting number 51, and that it wasn’t easy to balance his chase for the record with the Mets’ playoff hunt.
“I think it really set in after I hit number 40 in Kansas City, where it’s like — I’m gonna say it — ‘holy sh-t, I’ve got a chance at this.’ But I can’t try and do it, because we’re in a playoff run. if there’s a guy on second (base), I gotta try and get a base hit and move him over. I can’t just try and hit homers. I gotta be a good hitter first.
The Mets’ team player
“Chasing a personal accolade and chasing a playoff berth, I feel like those are two totally opposite — it’s a conflict of interest. Because one thing is very, very personal, and the other thing is extremely team-related. And for me, I tried the best I could to be just a great team player, and I feel like just staying within myself helped me get that chance to hit 52 and 53.”
With the New York Mets already out of playoff contention, Alonso hit his 53rd home run in the final weekend of the season against the Atlanta Braves. That was enough to overcome Aaron Judge’s 52 round-trippers in 2017.
After his dominant power display last season, the Mets’ young slugger is poised to terrorize opposing pitchers for years to come.