The Philanthropic Polar Bear

There is absolutely nothing to not love about Mets’ rookie, Pete Alonso. He has an all-around love for the game, a vibrant personality, and a relentlessness to give up and push his team to victory. Oh, and he is also one of the top slugging hitters in the MLB who is a first-time All Star.

At a fun-packed evening in Cleveland last night, in the midst of what Alonso described as a “fantasy season,” Pete put on a show at the 2019 Home Run Derby. Battling back in each of his matchup’s, he hit three walk-off home runs to win the competition. He topped the Toronto Blue Jays sensation, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 23-22, cranking the final home run with seconds to spare. Guerrero Jr., who amassed 91 home runs on the night and 40 in the previous round, seemed to lose some steam in the final round. Alonso, who struggled in the first couple of minutes, found his stride and not only won the derby, but took home the $1 million cash prize. 

Alonso, the 24-year-old product out of the University of Florida, doubled his salary in one night. Currently making the league minimum in his rookie year ($555,000), he had hoped to win the Home Run Derby and use some of the money for something greater than himself. Once he was selected for the competition, he discussed what he would do if he had won the money, “I feel really lucky and I feel like all of us are, because without brave men and women who have served this country, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. This sport probably wouldn’t exist. We wouldn’t have the freedom to do what we do. It’s a high price to pay. I just want to recognize all the good things those men and women do for this country.”

In his postgame interview, Alonso share that he would donate 5% of his winnings to the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization dedicated to helping veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound while serving in the military, and 5% to Tunnel To Towers, a foundation that benefits first responders. Both of his grandfathers served in the military, so he wanted to use his success and the platform of Major League Baseball to bring attention to those men and women fighting for our freedom each day.  

Although “Polar Bear” Pete is only a rookie, he plays and acts like a seasoned veteran. He lifts his teammates spirits when they are down and does everything in his power to help a team win. He’s a charitable player off the field and an upstanding teammate in the clubhouse. We need more Pete Alonso’s!