Mets' former, current home run kings meet

Hundley: Alonso's homer feats 'tough to do'

September 13th, 2019

NEW YORK -- The Mets’ current and former home run kings met in the Citi Field dugout Friday afternoon to talk about -- what else? -- the long ball. Sitting side by side, they discussed the differences between Shea Stadium and Citi, the way things have changed over the last quarter century, the way they’ve stayed the same.

“Do you ever think about an uppercut? Launch angles?” asked .

“No,” Alonso said. “For me, it’s see ball, hit ball.”

Late last month, Alonso hit his 42nd home run to snap a tie with Hundley and Carlos Beltran, who had shared the Mets’ record for 13 years. Hundley held the mark exclusively for a decade before that, from 1996-2005, until Beltran matched him in ’06.

He is unsurprised that it no longer belongs to him.

“Records are made to be broken,” said Hundley, returning to Citi Field on Friday as part of the Mets’ commitment to reconnecting with members of their alumni base. Still, Hundley did not discount the difficulty of what Alonso has accomplished.

“No matter what year you’re in, that many home runs is tough to do,” Hundley said. “Rookie or 20th year, it doesn’t matter. Obviously, the expectations go up, but it is what it is. … It’s just more work, putting more work into the cage, and paying more attention to how the opposing teams are pitching you. Once you’re able to figure that out, it makes things a little bit easier.”

Late in the 1996 season, Hundley recalled speaking to Barry Bonds in San Francisco about how everything was about to change for him. Pitchers would attack Hundley differently, Bonds said, after Hundley jumped from 15 homers in ’95 to 41 the following season. To remain productive, he would need to continue adjusting.

Hundley did, bashing 30 home runs the next season and 124 over his nine-year tenure with the Mets, becoming a star during an otherwise lean decade for the franchise.

Alonso, who entered Friday's play with 47 home runs, is still chasing Aaron Judge’s Major League rookie record of 52. While he knows he, like Hundley, will need to keep adjusting, Alonso continues to ride his rookie wave for now.

“It’s awesome,” Hundley said. “It’s a lot of home runs. Obviously, [Judge is] still going, but it looks a lot easier than it is, to be honest with you. He’s a good hitter, all-around good hitter.”