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New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso announced his intentions to defend his title at this year’s Home Run Derby in Colorado. Alonso won the crown at Cleveland’s Progressive Field, site of the 2019 All-Star festivities, but was unable to defend the title last season when the derby and All-Star game were cancelled.
Alonso’s 2019 win came in the middle of a historic rookie campaign that saw him hammer 53 homers, the most ever by a Met and an MLB rookie record. Following the season, he was named the National League’s Rookie of the Year. Currently, the right-handed Alonso is batting .250 with 11 bombs for NL East-leading New York.
The only other confirmed big leaguer for this year’s derby, held July 12th at Coors Field, is Angels phenom Shohei Ohtani. His 23 homers are currently tied with Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the major league lead. Guerrero Jr., who Alonso narrowly beat for the 2019 title (23 homers to 22 in the event’s final round), and Yankees slugger Aaron Judge have both already turned down invitations to participate in the fan-favorite event.
Should Alonso successfully defend his title in the homer-friendly confines of Coors Field, he’d become just the fourth player in MLB history to win the derby more than once. Others who have won the event on more than one occasion are: Yoenis Céspedes, Prince Fielder, and Ken Griffey Jr., who claimed the derby title on three different occasions.
Other than Alonso, Darryl Strawberry is the only Met to have won a Home Run Derby, sharing the title with Wally Joyner in 1986.