NEW YORK — Mets slugger Pete Alonso has become the first rookie in 81 years to break his team’s season home run record.
Alonso launched his 42nd of the season on the first pitch from Chicago Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish in the fourth inning Tuesday night, a no-doubt drive to the opposite field that soared far beyond the fence in right.
The big first baseman raised his right arm and index finger as he began rounding the bases, then flashed a bright smile in the dugout before coming out for a curtain call. And he set the Mets mark with 31 games to spare.
Todd Hundley in 1996 and Carlos Beltran a decade later hit 41 homers for New York.
In July, Alonso won the All-Star Home Run Derby in Cleveland.
Johnny Rizzo was the previous major league rookie to claim sole possession of his club’s home run record when he hit 23 for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1938. Rizzo’s franchise mark was matched by Hall of Famer and former Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner in 1946.
The 24-year-old Alonso made his major league debut this season. The first baseman hit a combined 36 home runs in Double-A and Triple-A last year.
“It’s a pleasure to have a fine young player like Pete Alonso break my record,” Beltran said in a statement. “I have not met Pete personally, but people have told me he plays the game with passion and doesn’t give up on any at-bat. He has had great success in his first year. Again, my congrats, Pete.”
In a statement, Hundley said: “To me, he’s more than a power hitter, he’s a pure hitter. I have seen five or six of his games and he keeps getting better and better. He has just had a tremendous year. Congrats, Pete you deserve all the records you have broken.”
The Mets might not be the only team to have their home run record rewritten this season.
The Kansas City Royals record is 38 by Mike Moustakas in 2017. Jorge Soler began the night with 36 for the Royals.