Thursday, June 01, 2017


Joey Votto Wins Award for the Sixth Time

For the sixth time in the past eight years, Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto has won the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame's Tip O'Neill Award. The award goes to the Canadian player judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution, community and charitable endeavours, and support in fan voting.

Scott Crawford, the Hall's director of operations, was proud to announce Votto as the award winner. The Reds are in Toronto this week, part of the inter league play of Major League baseball. He received the award prior to the game on Monday. “Joey Votto had another outstanding year on the field in 2016. But he also continues to be very active in charitable endeavours away from the field. He's an excellent ambassador for the game of baseball in Canada,” Crawford added.

An native of Etobicoke, Votto put up impressive numbers last season. His .326 batting average was third in the National League. More impressively, Votto batted .408 after the All Star break. Only six other players in major league history have batted over .400 after the All Star break in a season. He led the National League in several batting categories, and had 181 hits last season.

Votto is heavily involved in the Reds' community affairs. He reularly visits the Children's Hospital Medical Center, and greets with patients and staff at the ballpark throughout the season. Previously, he helped raise funds for the construction of the training centre at the MLB Urban Youth Academy. He has also participated in “Make A Wish” experiences in Cincinnati at the Great American Ball Park.

In his acceptance speech on Monday, Votto referred to the fact that he and a few others have been successful as Canadians from Eastern Canada. Most Major league players from the Great White North hail from the more seasonal climates of the west. He offered that as an example to younger players.

Tip” O'Neill, a Woodstock native, was one of the early pioneers in baseball. In 1887, with the St. Louis Browns of the American Association, he set records in hits, doubles, slugging percentage, and total bases.

The first Canadian to be recognized with the award was Terry Puhl, when he played in Houston. Other notable Canadians who have been honoured include: Russell Martin, Rob Ducey, Rob Butler, Jason Dickson, Corey Koskie, Jeff Zimmerman, Jutin Morneau, Jason Bay, and Eric Gagne. Larry Walker, perennial All Star who played most of his career in Montreal, won the award nine times!
The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is in St. Mary's, Ontario. It contains wonderful artifacts, and information about the Canadian presence in baseball. Its hours of operation are:

May – weekends only
Saturday 10:30am – 4pm and Sunday 12pm – 4pm
June 1 to August 31 – open daily
Monday – Saturday 10:30am – 4pm and Sunday 12pm – 4pm

September 1 to October 7 – open 4 days a week
Thursday – Saturday 10:30am – 4pm and Sunday 12pm – 4pm

October 8, 2017 to May 4, 2018 – open by pre-booked group tours only. Minimum 6 people or $30 for a one-hour tour.

The Hall is a 30 minute drive from London. It is also 15 km from Stratford. You can catch a play or two in the theatre, then enjoy the baseball experience in St. Mary's. Culture, the Canadian way!!

James Hurst
May 29, 2017

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