LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Reds first baseman Joey Votto's excellent 2017 season on the field might not have earned him any postseason baseball awards, but it was recognized as very significant for his country.Votto was named on Tuesday as the 2017 winner of the Lou Marsh Award for being
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Reds first baseman Joey Votto's excellent 2017 season on the field might not have earned him any postseason baseball awards, but it was recognized as very significant for his country.
Votto was named on Tuesday as the 2017 winner of the Lou Marsh Award for being Canada's most outstanding athlete of the year. The 34-year-old, who also won the this award in 2010, is only the third baseball player to earn it and the only two-time winner among baseball players.
"It's a very big deal to me," said Votto, who grew up from Etobicoke, Ontario, and lives in Toronto. "I'm very proud. I know that every single year there are wonderful candidates, and this year was no different. I am truly grateful and very, very honored. I know this means a lot to a lot of different people, and I join that group. It means a lot to me. I am very excited about this.
"I came up short on the Most Valuable Player award for the National League this year. In a way, winning this award kind of makes up for that."
Votto finished second in National League MVP voting, missing out on the award that went to Giancarlo Stanton by two points in the closest result since 1979 and the fourth closest all time. He did win the NL MVP Award in 2010.
While starting all 162 games for the Reds, Votto produced the best overall season of his 10-year career. He batted .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBIs, 106 runs scored and reached base a Major League-leading 321 times.
The Lou Marsh Trophy has been awarded since 1936 and past winners come from the entire spectrum of sports. While hockey players dominate the names of previous honorees -- including Wayne Gretzky four times -- there are also track stars, auto racers, figure skaters, golfers and basketball players. Pitcher Fergie Jenkins took the trophy in 1974 and outfielder Larry Walker won in '98.
Among the finalists with Votto for this year's trophy was hockey superstar Sidney Crosby from the Stanley Cup-winning Pittsburgh Penguins.
"I think that winning it a second time, especially amongst so many talented Canadian hockey players, is another achievement," Votto said. "Canadian sports in general I think is hockey-biased -- even though, if I'm not mistaken, our national sport is lacrosse. But that's another conversation to be had. But I'm very, very honored by it. It's really cool to look at the different Canadian hockey players and know their achievements and to have won out this award over them."
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.