And the winner is…
Joey Votto has been named the 2017 winner of the Lou Marsh Trophy, given annually to Canada’s best athlete as voted by a panel of sports journalists.
The Toronto native is the first baseball player to win this award twice – Votto also took home the trophy in 2010. Ferguson Jenkins (1974) and Larry Walker (1998) are the only other baseball players to ever win the award.
Not many athletes have managed to win this award twice since it was first handed out in 1936, as the voters appear to like spreading the wealth.
Hockey players are perhaps the most criminally underrepresented. Canada’s greatest athlete, Wayne Gretzky won the award just four times, while Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr have just once Lou Marsh Trophy each.
Here’s the list of athletes to win the award more than once:
- Barbara Ann Scott (3)
- Marlene Streit (2)
- Nancy Greene (2)
- Sandy Hawley (2)
- Wayne Gretzky (4)
- Ben Johnson (2)
- Jacques Villeneuve (2)
- Sidney Crosby (2)
Votto takes the trophy from Penny Oleksiak, who won the award in 2016 after winning four Olympic medals at the age of 16.
At 34 years old, Votto is one of the oldest athletes to ever win the award (Maurice Richard won in 1957 at age 36).
The Cincinnati Reds first baseman had an exceptional season, narrowly being beat out by Giancarlo Stanton for the National League MVP Award. Votto put up a .320 batting average, .454 on-base percentage, with 36 home runs, and 100 RBIs.
Other finalists this year included Sidney Crosby (hockey), Rachel Homan (curling), and Mikael Kingsbury (moguls skiing).