By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
With his seventh-inning single on Monday night, Cincinnati Reds slugger Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.) became the second Canadian to record 2,000 major league hits.
Hall of Famer Larry Walker was the first. The Maple Ridge, B.C., native, who will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sept. 8, finished his career with 2,160 hits.
Votto collected his milestone hit off Chicago Cubs reliever Michael Rucker in the seventh inning with the Reds ahead 4-0 at The Great American Ballpark. After Votto reached first base, Reds fans rose to their feet and gave Votto a lengthy ovation (Watch it below).
“I was really happy with the 2,000th hit, because before the at-bat, I wanted to make sure my uniform looked good, my socks looked good. I made sure that way, if there’s a highlight, I at least look my best,” Votto told reporters after the game. “It was a really good at-bat. I was very happy, because the pitcher was throwing very tough pitches that at-bat.”
Votto entered the game with 1,998 hits and he had singled off Cubs starter Justin Steele in the third inning. He added another single – his third of the game – later in the seventh inning.
The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont. was one of the first to congratulate Votto on social media.
“Congratulations to Joey Votto for recording his 2,000th major league hit. With this hit, he becomes just the second Canadian to reach this milestone, joining 2009 Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Larry Walker,” said the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in a statement.
“This milestone is another testament to Joey’s hard work, commitment and consistent excellence in his decade and a half with the Cincinnati Reds. He continues to be a role model and inspiration for Canadians both on and off the field and we are proud to add this special achievement to the story we share about him with visitors to our museum.”
This is the third major milestone Votto has achieved in 2021. On April 30, he clubbed his 300th major league home run. Two months later, he notched his 1,000th career RBI. Walker is the only other Canadian to reach those milestones.
With his 2,000th hit, Votto becomes just the fifth Reds player to reach that milestone with the club. joining Pete Rose, Barry Larkin, Dave Concepcion and Johnny Bench.
Votto also became just the second player in big league history to record his 300th home run, 1,000th RBI and 2,000th hit in the same season, joining Cubs Hall of Fame outfielder Billy Williams, who did it in 1971.
Most importantly to Votto, the Reds (65-55) won the game 14-5 and now sit 1-1/2 games back of the San Diego Padres for the final National League Wild Card spot.
“I think I counted six straight years of not strong baseball by us from ’14-19,” Votto told reporters after the game. “To play well and play together and more than anything, be done with a game, to get a win and also feel momentum towards something that we’re all collectively doing, and then to be a part of that with these individual milestones, is really pretty special.”