Mets Rookie Pete Alonso: My Path to the Pros

While growing up in Florida, Mets rookie Pete Alonso dabbled in many sports, but baseball quickly became his favorite. Now 24 years old, the first baseman is finding out what it’s like to be a role model for kids who love the game as much as he does.

This story appears in the August 2019 issue of Sports Illustrated Kids.

This offseason my parents found a video of me and my dad in the front yard. I was a year-and-a-half or two years old. My dad’s trying to get me to throw to him, but I never wanted to throw; I wanted to hit. (It’s funny, because not a lot has changed—I always want to be in the box.) Then my mom says, “He’s going to grow up to be a baseball player.” She didn’t know how true that was.

As a kid, I just loved the game, and playing catch with my dad and hitting in the front yard wasn’t enough. He signed me up for T-ball when I was three years old. It was a little early because the minimum age was four, but my dad was like, I’ve got to get him on a team somehow.

Growing up, I played pretty much everywhere around the diamond, but my best positions were catcher and first baseman. I also played football, lacrosse, soccer, and basketball. I loved all sports, and I played just about everything except hockey. In high school, I knew that I couldn’t play them all, so I had to make a very tough decision. Thankfully, I had help in making that decision from my parents. My mom never pushed me toward a particular sport but instead always said, If you’re going to choose something, trust your gut, and do it 100%. She helped me realize that my heart wasn’t 100% in lacrosse or football, so I chose baseball. Between her and my dad, who coached me until I was 12, they pitched batting practice to me, drove me to practices several times a week—they sacrificed a lot to get me to where I am today.

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I feel bad for my dad because I went through so many bats growing up; otherwise I would have been like a carpenter going to a job site without his toolbox. When I went to college, my dad joked, Thank goodness I don’t have to pay for bats anymore.

Going to the College World Series with the University of Florida two years in a row was special, and having the three longest home runs in the CWS [at the time] was cool.

I faced a lot of really talented guys in college and in the minors, a diverse group of players close to the same age as me. That definitely helped prepare me.

Once I got to the majors, I immediately realized that all the players, whether they were 24 or 37 years old, had one thing in common: Every single one of us has that little kid inside. We all have this infatuation with baseball and just a pure love and joy, and that’s why we go out and play. That’s why you see guys getting pumped up, flipping their bats, or fist-pumping and yelling.

All the veteran guys have helped me a lot. The overarching message from them has been: You got here, and that means you’re good enough to stay. That has helped put me in the right mindset to go out and perform.

I grew up in Tampa, and I watched Evan Longoria when I was a middle-schooler, and today I’m playing against him. (He’s with the Giants now, but he’ll forever be known as a Tampa Bay Ray.) That is crazy—and then playing against Paul Goldschmidt, the Cardinals’ first baseman. I was like, Wow, I’ve watched all his highlights and seen all his plays, and now I’m right there with him. It’s definitely a humbling feeling.

I was fortunate enough to have many good role models to look up to who helped me realize my dream of being a Major League Baseball player. So when I see a kid walking down the street with my jersey on, it’s awesome because I just want to be a positive figure and an ambassador for the game. I want to be a good role model for kids who play the game with the same passion for it that I do.   

Top photograph by Mike Stobe/Getty Images