Reds slugger Joey Votto wins Lou Marsh award as Canada’s top athlete

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) follows through on an RBI single off San Diego Padres starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin during the first inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017, in Cincinnati. (Gary Landers/AP)

TORONTO — Cincinnati Reds star Joey Votto is the 2017 winner of the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year.

The winner of the award — which Votto also took in 2010 — is selected annually by a panel of sports journalists from across the country.

Other finalists were Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, curler Rachel Homan and moguls skiier Mikael Kingsbury.

Votto came within a whisker of winning his second National League MVP award this season, losing to Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton by just two points.

The 34-year-old Toronto native made a great case for himself this year, starting all 162 games for Cincinnati and leading MLB in on-base percentage, walks and intentional walks. He reached base an MLB-best 321 times, breaking his own club record of 319 set two seasons before.

Votto also became only the third player in MLB history to produce at least 179 hits, 36 homers and 134 walks with 83 strikeouts or fewer in a single season. The other two are Babe Ruth and Ted Williams, who combined to accomplish that feat seven times.

The Lou Marsh Trophy is named after a former Toronto Star sports editor. Swimmer Penny Oleksiak captured the honour last year.

Fergie Jenkins and Larry Walker are the only other baseball players to win the award.

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