Two-time champ Alonso 'really excited' for another HR Derby

July 8th, 2024

Two-time Home Run Derby champion Pete Alonso is looking to add a third title to his collection.

On the day he was selected to his fourth All-Star Game, Alonso announced on Sunday that he is planning to participate in this year’s Derby in Arlington, Texas. The Mets’ slugger won his first Derby as a rookie in 2019 in an epic final battle against Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in Cleveland. With no Derby in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Alonso won again in 2021 in Colorado with 23 home runs in the final round and 74 homers overall.

“It’s just something I’m really excited to do,” Alonso said. “I’m happy they asked because it's an opportunity for me to give back to the community.”

Alonso fell short in both 2022 and ‘23 but could put himself in a premier class by winning again this season. With another victory, Alonso would tie Ken Griffey Jr.’s record of three Derby titles (1994, ‘98 and ‘99) since the competition began in 1985.

Alonso, who reminisced about a younger version of himself, said that if he were ever given the chance to participate, he would. The Mets’ slugger also saw it as an opportunity to give back to the youth. The first baseman said his winnings will go towards helping refurbish fields across the United States through the Alonso Foundation.

“I mean, this game’s not just about the present, it’s about the future and inspiring kids and hopefully helping some kids out to where they could eventually [compete],” Alonso said. “For me, it was a dream and now it’s reality.”

Pitching to Alonso will be former Mets bench coach and current Nationals advisor Dave Jauss, who did the honors when he won in 2021.

The 29-year-old Alonso leads the Majors with 210 home runs since debuting in 2019 and has participated in every Derby during his time as a big leaguer. Alonso has a .789 OPS and 18 home runs for the Mets this season.

Taking a trip down memory lane, Alonso recalled watching former slugger Josh Hamilton put on a historic performance at the old Yankee Stadium in 2008. Alonso said the opportunity to square off against Hamilton, who slugged a record 28 first-round home runs in an eventual second-place finish, while hypothetical, would be a dream matchup.

“Obviously it's a fake scenario, but if I could face [2008] Josh Hamilton, round one, in the finals, that would be really fun,” Alonso said.