Courtesy of Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame
St. Marys, Ont. – For the fifth time in six years, Etobicoke, Ont., native Joey Votto has won the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Tip O’Neill Award.
The St. Marys, Ont.-based shrine presents this honour annually to the Canadian player judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to baseball’s highest ideals.
To determine the winner, the Hall takes into account a number of criteria, including each candidate’s on-the-field performance, contributions to their team, community and charitable endeavors and support in fan voting. Starting on November 17, the Hall had encouraged fans to vote for their top three candidates and they responded by casting their votes via e-mail and on the Hall’s website.
The Cincinnati Reds first baseman staved off strong competition from Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin (Montreal, Que.) and national women’s team star Nicole Luchanski (Edmonton, Alta.) to win the award.
“Joey Votto had a record-breaking, comeback season in 2015,” said Scott Crawford, the Hall’s director of operations. “But the best thing about him is that he’s a superstar both on and off the field and he continues to be an excellent ambassador for the game of baseball in Canada. We’re proud to once again honour him with this award.”
After being limited to just 62 games in 2014, Votto rebounded to hit .314 this season and set new Canadian and Reds’ single-season records for walks (143) and times on base (319). He also topped the National League (NL) in those categories and finished second in the NL in on-base percentage (.459), third in on-base plus slugging percentage (1.000) and fourth in slugging percentage (.541).
Votto, who shared the Tip O’Neill Award with John Axford in 2011, also established a new Reds’ record by getting on base at least twice in a game 107 times and he tied Pete Rose’s franchise mark by reaching base safely in 48 consecutive games. The Canadian slugger’s 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) ranked fifth in the majors and his 29 home runs tied the second highest single-season total of his career. For his efforts, he finished third in the National League MVP Award voting and was a finalist for the Players Choice Comeback Player of the Year award.
Votto also continues to very active in charitable endeavors. His ongoing contributions have led to the construction and completion of the 33,000-square foot training center at the P&G Cincinnati MLB Urban Youth Academy. The indoor complex, which bears his name, hosts year-round baseball, softball, educational and vocational programming.
The Etobicoke native has also been a generous donor to UC Health (Greater Cincinnati’s Academic Health System) with a focus on patients living with post-traumatic stress disorder and he has participated in weekly Make-A-Wish experiences at Great American Ball Park during batting practice.
“It is very humbling to be recognized again by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame when there are so many deserving players,” said Votto. “I have to thank the Baseball Hall of Fame for its efforts in promoting the players and our game in Canada.”
Votto will be presented with the award in a pre-game ceremony in Cincinnati early in the 2016 season.
Aside from Martin and Luchanski, Brett Lawrie (Langley, B.C), Pete Orr (Newmarket, Ont.), Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, Ont.) and Tyler O’Neill (Maple Ridge, B.C.) also garnered significant support for the award.
The Hall’s Tip O’Neill Award is named after Woodstock, Ont., native James “Tip” O’Neill, who was one of Major League Baseball’s first legitimate stars. With the American Association’s St. Louis Browns in 1887, O’Neill set big league records in hits, doubles, slugging percentage and total bases, while compiling a major league record .492 batting average. Walks were counted as hits in 1887, but if O’Neill’s average was calculated by today’s standards, it would be .435, the second highest in big league history to Hugh Duffy (.438).
Past winners of the James “Tip” O’Neill Award:
1984 – Terry Puhl
1985 – Dave Shipanoff
1986 – Rob Ducey
1987 – Larry Walker
1988 – Kevin Reimer
1989 – Steve Wilson
1990 – Larry Walker
1991 – Daniel Brabant
1992 – Larry Walker
1993 – Rob Butler
1994 – Larry Walker
1995 – Larry Walker
1996 – Jason Dickson
1997 – Larry Walker
1998 – Larry Walker
1999 – Jeff Zimmerman
2000 – Ryan Dempster
2001 – Corey Koskie
2001 – Larry Walker
2002 – Eric Gagné
2002 – Larry Walker
2003 – Eric Gagné
2004 – Jason Bay
2005 – Jason Bay
2006 – Justin Morneau
2007 – Russell Martin
2008 – Justin Morneau
2009 – Jason Bay
2010 – Joey Votto
2011 – Joey Votto
2011 – John Axford
2012 – Joey Votto
2013 – Joey Votto
2014 – Justin Morneau
great choice; great field of candidates…well done folks…
Thanks for the comment, Bill. I agree.
Great choice, thanks for the info Kevin.
Thanks for the comment. I agree. Votto is a great choice.