CINCINNATI – Reds star Joey Votto has won this year’s Lou Gehrig Memorial Award as the major leaguer who best exemplifies the "giving character" of the legendary Yankee.
The Gehrig Award recognizes Votto's generosity to 6-year-old Walter “Superbubz” Herbert and other acts of giving, according to Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity, headquartered in Oxford, Ohio. Gehrig was a member of the fraternity while attending Columbia University.
Votto previously won the MLB Award for Best Player-Fan Interaction for giving his home run bat and jersey to Walter at a Reds game last season. The boy was fighting stage 4 neuroblastoma.
The world needs more people like Joey Votto. pic.twitter.com/3wg2l4Ob8h
— MLB (@MLB) August 31, 2017
Votto's friendship with Walter started in August when the Reds invited him to Great American Ball Park. Votto gave him a tour of clubhouse and signed a bat for him to take home. A week later, Votto noticed Walter sitting behind home plate during a game and gave him a high five before hitting a home run and treating the youngster to souvenirs of his blast.
When Walter died Oct. 6, Votto attended the visitation and waited in line to pay his respects to Walter’s family.
Votto called Superbubz "one of the most special young people I've ever met in my life."
"To just have had even the smallest of moments in his life is a gift to me," Votto said. "I feel very, very grateful to have got to know him and spend a little time with him."
Joey Votto talks about meeting "Superbubz" and accepts the MLB Award in his honor. pic.twitter.com/6sNHeKcbGf
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) November 18, 2017
The Gehrig Award was first presented in 1955 and is maintained at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. Representatives from Phi Delta Theta will present the award to Votto on July 27 when the Reds host the Phillies.
“Joey Votto is a leader in our clubhouse and sets the example for our players on how to conduct themselves on and off the field,” said Reds General Manager Dick Williams. “His engagement in the community has quietly encouraged others on our team to do the same. We congratulate him on this award.”