Pete Alonso used one-of-a-kind and sentimental bats to win his second-straight Home Run Derby.
The Mets first baseman, who set a first-round derby record with 35 home runs, commissioned eight different painted bats by artist Gregory Siff especially for Monday night’s contest ahead of Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game at Coors Field. The special lumber told the 26-year-old Alonso’s life story.
“Yeah, Gregory Siff, L.A.-based artist, grew up in Queens, his artwork for all my bats I use today is just incredible,” Alonso said. “I talked to him and told him about my story and my personality, and I gave him creative freedom and he gave me the absolute best arsenal out of everyone today. Just super creative. His mind is wonderful.
“He’s a great dude. He’s actually here in the outfield seeing his work being put to the test. It was awesome, really awesome that I was able to collaborate with him, and his artwork is just absolutely incredible. And I believe for it to be functional and put balls over the fence, it’s truly remarkable. It’s really fun and kind of a great meshing of two worlds.”
The bats included phrases and other things holding special meaning to Alonso, including “Family First”, “LFGM” and the Greek phrase “Molon Labe” from one of the slugger’s favorite movies, “300,” which means “come and take them.”
“Even though I’m outnumbered nine to one, I’m in my little area, like when the Spartans defended, only 300 of them defended against all odds,” Alonso told ESPN. “That’s how I describe how I play.”
Another bat, painted purple, silver and black, is dedicated to this grandfather who came to the U.S. from Spain and attended NYU.
“I put all of these kinds of important messages and important moments in his life and kind of interweaved them onto all the bats,” Siff, who has worked on other projects with Alonso, told ESPN.
The painted bats continued what’s becoming a Home Run Derby tradition. Alonso used one to win in 2019 and Bryce Harper the year before.
They certainly paid off for Alonso, who was barely challenged through three rounds, this year. He hit No. 23 in the final to beat the Orioles’ Trey Mancini with about 30 seconds left spare and his 35 homers in the first round bested the mark of 28 set by the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton in the 2008 Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium.