Joey Votto wins Canadian ball hall’s Tip O’Neill Award

Courtesy of Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

St. Marys, Ont. – For the seventh time in eight years, Etobicoke, Ont., native Joey Votto has won the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Tip O’Neill Award.

Canada’s baseball 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.

Votto, who shared the Tip O’Neill Award with John Axford (Port Dover, Ont.) in 2011, staved off competition from Seattle Mariners pitchers James Paxton (Ladner, B.C.) and Andrew Albers (North Battleford, Sask.), as well as from Claire Eccles (Surrey, B.C.), who became the first female to pitch in the collegiate West Coast League.

“Joey Votto has had several outstanding major league seasons, but 2017 might have been his best yet,” said Scott Crawford, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s director of operations. “And through his charitable efforts, he continues to be a wonderful ambassador for the game of baseball. We’re proud to honour him with this award.”

Votto narrowly missed out on winning his second National League MVP Award when he finished just two points behind Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton in the voting. In 2017, the Cincinnati Reds first baseman topped the National League in on-base percentage (OBP) (.454), walks (134), intentional walks (20) and on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) (1.032). He also ended up third in the league in batting average (.320), tied for fifth in home runs (36) and sixth in slugging percentage (.578).

The Canadian slugger also set a Reds’ record by reaching base 321 times this season, which broke his own mark of 319 set in 2015. In the field, he topped National League first basemen in assists and was named a Gold Glove finalist. He also became the first Reds player in a non-strike season to start all 162 games since 1975.

For his efforts, he was named to the National League All-Star team for the fifth time and was nominated for the league’s Hank Aaron Award.

Off 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. Votto’s generosity towards Walter “Superbubz” Herbert, a six-year-old fan fighting stage 4 neuroblastoma, during a game at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati on August 31 earned him the MLB Award for Best Player-Fan Interaction. After Votto socked his 34th home run of the year that day, Votto high-fived the youngster and later gave Herbert his bat and jersey. Sadly, Herbert passed away on October 6.

Votto 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. He 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.

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.

“I thank the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame for the honour. I continue to be humbled by this award, because very good baseball players are coming out of Canada,” said Votto. “My countrymen and I thank the Baseball Hall of Fame’s continuing efforts in promoting the game and our players.”

Votto will be presented with the award in a pre-game ceremony in Cincinnati early in the 2018 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
2017 – Joey Votto

2 thoughts on “Joey Votto wins Canadian ball hall’s Tip O’Neill Award

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  1. Hard to believe that Joey is getting better with age. He’s about 600 games played behind Walker so it will be interesting to compare their careers in 4 yrs.

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