NEW YORK – Carlos Beltran has only one request of Pete Alonso.
“I hope he hits 55 [homers]. I hope he hits more than that. I will be disappointed if he stops at 42,” Beltran told Yahoo Sports with a laugh during a recent telephone interview. “I hope he continues to have a good season.”
With his 42nd homer Tuesday off Cubs righty Yu Darvish, Alonso, in just his rookie season, has now hit more homers than anyone else in Mets history.
He broke a tie with Beltran, who hit 41 homers in 2006, and former Mets catcher Todd Hundley, who set the previous standard in 1996.
Alonso established the new record in the Mets’ 131st game.
“Those type of records are meant to be broken,” Beltran said. “When I was able to hit 41, I never thought as a center fielder that I’m trying to get there. You have to understand someone is going to come along and break the record, like many records in baseball. The fact he’s a first-year rookie, I’m happy for him.”
Alonso is the first rookie to set his team’s single-season home run record since Pittsburgh’s Johnny Rizzo in 1923, per the Elias Sports Bureau, and is tied with Mark McGwire for the most homers by a player through his first 130 games.
“It’s crazy, and it’s mind-boggling because Carlos Beltran is such an accomplished baseball player. There are so many great players that have come through this organization that played here for a long time that are Hall of Famers and champions and are well respected throughout the game,” Alonso said. “It’s very humbling because those are people that are legends of the game and here in New York.”
Beltran has never met Alonso, but as a special adviser to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, he certainly is well aware of the Polar Bear’s accomplishment.
Alonso has set MLB and Mets records during this historic season, and he now heads a Mets list that in addition to Beltran includes Hall of Famer Mike Piazza and notable sluggers such as Darryl Strawberry, Carlos Delgado and Dave Kingman.
The 42 homers are also the most ever by a National League rookie.
“He has a passion for the game. He’s done a great job for the Mets as a rookie,” Beltran said. “Being able to play every day and be a force for the organization, it’s good to see young guys that are so good at baseball.
“What he did in the Home Run Derby, putting on that show — to have this type of year in his first season is fun and impressive.”
Beltran, 42, does not remember all that much about his pursuit of the record other than it being outside of the norm for him. Beltran usually hit about 25-30 homers per year with 2006 and 2004 — when he hit 38 — marking his only seasons when he hit more than 35. Beltran hit 435 homers in his illustrious 20-year career.
Beltran tied Hundley in the Mets’ 159th game of the season off Braves sidearmer Peter Moylan, and it marked his only homer in his final 58 plate appearances.
“I was just happy to get to that point,” Beltran said. “I never got caught up in it. Maybe when I got close to 1,000 RBIs, milestone numbers, you get conscious of that information from the media and such. I don’t remember thinking about it.”
Hundley’s record-setting campaign proved to be his finest offensive season with the catcher hitting more than 25 homers only twice in his 14 seasons.
“To me, he’s more than a power hitter, he’s a pure hitter,” Hundley said of Alonso in a statement released Tuesday night by the Mets. “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.”
When Beltran tied Hundley’s record as a 29-year-old, he had already signed a $119 million contract with the Mets and established himself as a premier player.
Alonso now has his whole career ahead of him to continue to try to break his own record — and still has a shot at Aaron Judge’s MLB rookie record of 52 homers.
“It means a lot [for Alonso]. From Year One, you know what kind of player you can be for years to come,” Beltran said. “Now, he’ll be able to go into the offseason and continue to work and get better and improve in different areas, offensively and defensively. … Doing it as a rookie, it would bring a lot of pride. I’d want to continue to get better and try to prove myself again.”
He added: “All I can say is I hope he stays healthy. I’m happy seeing him have success.”
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