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Joseph Daniel "Joey" Votto, (born September 10, 1983) is a Canadian Major League Baseball first baseman for the Cincinnati Reds. He is the 2010 NL MVP, the recipient of the National League Hank Aaron Award for 2010, and won the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's athlete of the year in 2010

Early careerBorn in Etobicoke, Ontario, in the west end of Toronto, Votto was drafted out of high school (Richview Collegiate Institute) in the second round of the 2002 MLB amateur draft by the Reds (44th overall), Votto's first few professional seasons with the Reds' rookie-level affiliates were quiet. However, Votto burst onto the scene in 2004, when he hit 26 doubles, 14 home runs, and sported a batting average of .302 with the Class A Dayton Dragons. He was promoted to Class A Advanced Potomac, and hit five more home runs in 20 games to end the season with 19.

Votto's consistency declined during 2005 campaign with Sarasota. While he still hit 19 home runs, Votto struck out 122 times and his batting average dropped nearly 50 points to .256.

He rebounded in 2006, batting .319 with 22 home runs and 24 stolen bases for Chattanooga. Votto spent the majority of the 2007 spring training with the Cincinnati Reds and made the 40 man roster but was sent down to the Reds' AAA affiliate, the Louisville Bats.

Votto's 2006 season was the best of his minor league career. Playing with Class AA Chattanooga, he improved his batting average to .319 and hit 46 doubles and 22 home runs. He led the Southern League in batting average and total bases and was third in the league in home runs and RBI. Votto was selected to play in the 2006 Futures Game on the World Team. He also played on both the Mid-Season and Post-Season Northern League All-Star teams, and was voted a minor league all-star by Baseball America. Votto culminated his season by winning the Northern League MVP award.

[edit] Major leagues (2007–present)[edit] 2007–08 seasonsVotto started off the 2007 season playing in Triple-A for the Louisville Bats. He was called up on September 1, 2007. He made his Major League debut on September 4, 2007, striking out against Guillermo Mota of the New York Mets. In his second major league at bat Votto hit his first career home run. Votto ended the season on a good note, going 2-for-4 with a home run and 5 RBI in the Cincinnati Reds' final game of the 2007 season.[2]

Beginning the 2008 season, Votto shared time platooning at first base with Scott Hatteberg, until Manager Dusty Baker began playing Votto as the Reds' starting first baseman in early April. On May 7, 2008, Votto hit three home runs in a game against the Chicago Cubs. He broke the Reds' record for the most runs batted in by a rookie in a single season. The previous record was held by National Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder Frank Robinson with 83 RBI set in 1956. Votto drove in 84 runs during the 2008 season. He finished second in National League Rookie of the Year voting to the Chicago Cubs' Geovany Soto

2009 seasonVotto played for Canada in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. In Canada's first game against the United States, Votto had 4 hits in 5 at-bats, one of which was a home run.[4]

Votto began the 2009 season strong as the outright starter at first base. In the second game of the season, Votto went 3 for 5 with a homer and 3 RBI in a loss to the New York Mets. In the next game against the Mets, Votto had another homer and 4 RBI. He had a 6-game hitting streak near the end of April, closing out the opening month with a .346 batting average and 3 home runs. Votto opened May with a 5-game hitting streak. In a May matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals, Votto had two homers for 4 RBI. He finished out the month with 5 home runs and a .378 batting average. However, Votto was placed on the DL to open June after missing time in May due to personal issues. Prior to his return game during the 2009 season he indicated he had been suffering from depression and anxiety issues as a result of the death of his father in August 2008, and had sought treatment for them.[5] He had previously missed time because of dizziness related to an inner ear infection.

Votto was named the National League Player of the Week for September 21–27, 2009, after hitting 10 doubles in a five-game span, a concentrated display not seen in 77 years. Hall of Fame outfielder Paul Waner did it for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1932.[6]

Despite missing 31 games overall, Votto finished the 2009 season among the National League leaders in batting average (.322), on-base percentage (.414), slugging percentage (.567), and hit 25 home runs.

[edit] 2010 seasonVotto was not initially voted to the 2010 All-Star game in Anaheim, California, but made the roster via online fan voting through the National League's Final Vote. Votto was named on 13.7 million of the 26 million ballots submitted.[7] Though, after the game, despite a National League victory, Votto refused to congratulate fellow N.L. All-star Marlon Byrd who made a game saving play by throwing out David Ortiz. Votto stated "I don't like the Cubs," Byrd's current team and a divisional rival. Votto also added "And I'm not going to pat anybody with a Cubs uniform on the back. We are Cincinnati Reds. We're taught to hate everything in the Central Division. That's just how it is." Votto went 0-2.

Votto made the cover of Sports Illustrated on the August 30, 2010 edition.

On the season Votto hit .324 with 113 RBI, 106 runs scored, and 37 homers, including a grand slam off of Tommy Hanson of the Atlanta Braves on May 20. He finished the season leading the Major Leagues in On Base Percentage (.424), and led the National League in Slugging Percentage (.600), and On-Base Plus Slugging (1.024).

On October 31, before game four of the World Series, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and Hank Aaron announced that Votto had won the Hank Aaron Award in the National League.[8]

On November 22, he was announced the 2010 NL MVP, as he led the NL in on-Base Percentage, coming within one vote of winning unanimously (Albert Pujols received the other first place vote).[9] He is only the third Canadian to win the MVP award after Larry Walker and Justin Morneau.

[edit] 2011 seasonOn January 16, it was announced that the Reds and Votto agreed to a 3 year, $38 million deal. Many consider Votto to have the potential to win multiple MVP awards.[10]

On Opening Day of the 2011 season, Votto went 1 for 2 with a homer and 2 RBI, also adding 2 walks to his stat line. The Reds won the game 7-6 on a Ramón Hernández walk-off home run. As of July 9, Votto is third in the NL in batting average, and has 13 HR and 53 RBI, and has 59 runs scored, and 6 SB. On July 3rd, Votto was voted in by the players for the 2011 All Star Game as a reserve.

Votto was voted onto the 2011 All-Star team.

[edit] Personal LifeJoey owns a dog named Maris.

During baseball season, Joey lives in Mt. Adams, an upscale neighborhood near downtown Cincinnati. In the off season he owns a home in Sarasota, Florida.

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Career awards and honorsMajor League:

2011 National League All-Star (Cincinnati)

2010 Tip O'Neill Award

2010 National League Most Valuable Player

2010 National League Hank Aaron Award

2010 Ernie Lombardi MVP Award (Cincinnati)

2010 National League All-Star (Cincinnati)

2010 Lou Marsh Trophy, awarded to Canada's athlete of the year

2009 National League Player of the Week (Week of Sept. 21–27, 2009) (Cincinnati)

Minor League:

2007 INT Post-Season All Star (Louisville)

2007 INT Mid-Season All Star (Louisville)

2007 INT Rookie of the Year (Louisville)

2007 Baseball America Triple-A All Star (Louisville)

2006 Baseball America Double-A All Star (Chattanooga)

2006 SOU Most Valuable Player (Chattanooga)

2006 SOU Mid-Season All Star (Chattanooga)

2006 SOU Post-Season All Star (Chattanooga)

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