Reds star Joey Votto voted Canada's athlete of the year

'It's a very big deal to me'

TORONTO – After narrowly losing the National League Most Valuable Player award, Joey Votto was happy to win MVP of his whole country.

"I came up short on the Most Valuable Player award for the National League this year, but in a way, winning this award kind of makes up for that," Votto said after beating out National Hockey League star Sidney Crosby in the voting for Canada’s top athlete of the year.

"It's a very big deal to me.”

Votto won his second Lou Marsh Trophy on Tuesday, beating out Crosby, who led the Pittsburgh Penguins to a second straight Stanley Cup, and two other finalists in voting by 30 Canadian media members.

“Whenever I hear I'm up for this award or that I'm considered amongst a group of athletes, typically, it's a gaggle of hockey players and then a few different athletes, both male and female in other sports," Votto said Tuesday on a conference call.

"I usually think, 'Well, it will likely go to the male hockey player' and I think winning it a second time, especially amongst so many talented Canadian hockey players, is another achievement."

Votto, who hails from Etobicoke, Ontario, a Toronto suburb, first won the Lou Marsh Trophy in 2010 when he also captured the NL MVP trophy. He  lost the NL MVP this year by two points to slugger Giancarlo Stanton, traded last week from the Marlins to the Yankees.

Other Lou Marsh Trophy finalists were cross-country skier Alex Harvey, curler Rachel Homan and moguls skier Mikael Kingsbury.

Swimmer Penny Oleksiak captured the award in 2016.

Votto started all 162 games last season and led the majors in on-base percentage (.454), on-base plus slugging (1.032) and walks (134). He batted .320 with a career-high 36 homers.

And here's a stat you might not know: Votto joined Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in exclusive company as the only players to produce at least 179 hits, 36 homers and 134 walks with 83 strikeouts or fewer in a single season.

Baseball Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins and 1997 NL MVP Larry Walker are the only other baseball players to win the Lou Marsh Trophy, named for a former Toronto Star sports editor.

The trophy has been awarded since 1936 with a three-year hiatus during World War II.

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