Cincinnati Reds slugger Joey Votto was named the winner of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame's Tip O'Neill Award on Friday.
The honour is presented annually to the Canadian player judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to baseball's highest ideals.
"Joey Votto is not only a superstar on the field, but he's also an inspiration and a difference-maker away from the ballpark," said Scott Crawford, the Hall's director of operations. "There was a very strong field of candidates this year, but Joey deserves this honour for his tremendous contributions both on and off the field."
Votto, from Toronto, is the first player to win the award four years in a row and is one of only two players to have won it on more than three occasions. The other is Larry Walker, a native of Maple Ridge, B.C., who won the award nine times.
Votto hit .305 this past season and was selected to his fourth straight all-star game. He hit 24 home runs, drove in 73 runs, and led the National League in walks (135) and on-base percentage (.435).
To determine a winner, the Hall considers each candidate's on-the-field performance, contributions to their team, community and charitable endeavours and support in fan voting.
"It's an honour to be recognized again by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame," Votto said in a release. "It is very flattering to be mentioned in any discussion that includes Larry Walker, who represented our country with such dedication and professionalism during his major-league career. I have to thank the Baseball Hall of Fame for its efforts in promoting our great game in Canada."
Several players were considered for this year's honour, including Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie of Langley, B.C., and sluggers Russell Martin of Toronto and Justin Morneau of New Westminster, B.C., who played for Pittsburgh last season.
Morneau signed with the Colorado Rockies on Friday.
Votto, who shared the award with John Axford in 2011, will be presented with the award in a pre-game ceremony in Cincinnati early next season.