Perhaps the only thing more notable about Pedro Alvarez than his power is the path he has taken to the big leagues. A Dominican-born kid coming out of Washington Heights is hardly the stuff of headlines. But when that kid goes to Horace Mann, a prestigious private school in Riverdale, and then turns down almost $1 million after being drafted by his favorite team, the Red Sox, to attend Vanderbilt, well, that changes the narrative just a bit.
By Wayne Coffey / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
On the mound is Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals, on his way to an utterly dominant, two-hit, 12-strikeout night. Strasburg falls behind 2-1 when a fastball misses. He decides to go with the fastball again. He looks in at Pedro Alvarez, his knees bent slightly, his weight back, his bat as straight as the Washington Monument. The pitcher winds and fires, a 96 mph fastball and now Pedro Alvarez, son of a livery cab driver, a kid out of West 196th St., is ready to go to work, his hands powering forward, his hips opening, his 31-ounce bat crushing into the pitch, producing a thwack so deep and loud they probably heard it on Capitol Hill.
The ball rockets on a line to right-center, landing in the seats before you could say Frank Howard. Later, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said the clout was so sweet and strong it gave him goosebumps.
“It might’ve been the hardest ball I’ve seen hit this year,” says Pirates second baseman Neil Walker, Alvarez’s closest friend on the team.