Now 27, Votto didn’t become a major league regular until two years ago. Following the death of his father in August 2008, he went on the disabled list and missed 21 games the following year partly because of depression and anxiety.
“I had a really, really difficult time I guess getting over the death of my father,” Votto said. “It’s still difficult for me sometimes now. It’s hard when you lose someone in your life that means so much. It was a difficult 2009 and quite a bit less difficult in 2010, and I think that was definitely a big reason why I was able to stay on the ballfield every day and succeed and make progress and feel better about life.”
“I got there and I saw my peers,” Votto said. “I saw the A-Rods and the Pujolses and the Jeters. And I thought, ‘Well, I just got 14 million votes for the fan voting and I’m still the small fish in the big pond.’”
He joined Ernie Lombardi (1938), Bucky Walters (1939), Frank McCormick (1940), Frank Robinson (1961), Johnny Bench (1970, 1972), Pete Rose (1973), Joe Morgan (1975-76), George Foster (1977) and Barry Larkin (1995) as Reds to win the award. The Reds’ 12 MVPs are tied with the Giants for second in the NL behind the Cardinals (17). In the AL, the New York Yankees have won 20.
The AL winner will be announced Tuesday. Josh Hamilton of Texas is the front-runner.
Votto, a bargain with a $525,000 salary, will be eligible for arbitration for the first time. Neither Votto nor Gonzalez ($406,000) had MVP bonus provisions. Pujols gets $100,000 for finishing second. By finishing fourth, Adrian Gonzalez gets a $100,000 raise to $6.3 million next season.
Born in Toronto, Votto becomes the third Canadian-born MVP, following Colorado’s Larry Walker (1997) and Minnesota’s Justin Morneau (2006).
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