Joey Votto wins Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Tip O’Neill Award

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Courtesy of www.baseballhalloffame.ca

St. Marys, Ont. – For the sixth time in seven 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 18, 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, who shared the Tip O’Neill Award with John Axford (Port Dover, Ont.) in 2011, staved off strong competition from Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin (East York, Ont.), outfielder Michael Saunders (Victoria, B.C.), Baseball America double-A Minor League Player of the Year Tyler O’Neill (Maple Ridge, B.C.) and national women’s team MVP Amanda Asay (Prince George, B.C.) to win the award.

“Joey Votto had another outstanding season on the field in 2016,” said Scott Crawford, the Hall’s director of operations. “But he also continues to be very active in charitable endeavors away from the field. He’s an excellent ambassador for the game of baseball in Canada and we’re proud to honour him with this award.”

Votto’s .326 batting average in 2016 was the third-best in the National League, but he hit .408 in the season’s second-half to become one of just seven players in major league history to bat over .400 after the All-Star break in a season. He led the National League in on-base percentage (OBP) (.434), times on base (294) and on-base plus slugging percentage plus (OPS+) (160) and finished second in on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) (.985) and walks (108).  He also posted a .550 slugging percentage and recorded 181 hits, good for sixth and eighth in the National League respectively.

His 2016 campaign represented just the 19th time in major league history that a Canadian has completed a season with a batting average over .300, an OBP over .400 and a slugging percentage over .500.

For his efforts, he was nominated for the National League’s Hank Aaron Award, handed out to the league’s top hitter, and he finished seventh in the National League MVP voting.

Away from the field, Votto is heavily involved with the Reds Community Fund, the club’s non-profit arm that’s dedicated to improving the lives of youth. He also regularly visits the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and participates in meet and greets with patients and staff at the ballpark throughout the season.

His previous contributions helped lead 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 bears his name and hosts year-round baseball, softball, educational and vocational programming.

Votto 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 Make-A-Wish experiences at Great American Ball Park.

“I thank the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame for the recognition. It is very humbling, because our country produces some very good baseball players,” said Votto, after being informed he’ll be honoured with the 2016 Tip O’Neill Award. “We all need to thank the Baseball Hall of Fame’s efforts in promoting the sport and our native players.”

Votto will be presented with the award in a pre-game ceremony in Cincinnati early in the 2017 season.

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 who hit .440 in 1894.

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

2015 – Joey Votto

2016 – Joey Votto

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