Earlier Monday afternoon, the BBWAA named Reds start first baseman Joey Votto the winner of the 2010 NL MVP award. One of the issues with this award is the definition of "valuable". How important is clutch performance? How important is the team's overall record? How important is, say, a player's salary, as a lower salary may make him more valuable indirectly by allowing the team to spend more on other players?
There never has been and there may never be an agreed-upon definition of the term, which means MVP voting results might always be controversial. But every so often you have a case like we have in the National League, where one player runs away with the voting. For Votto to receive 31 of a possible 32 first-place votes implies there was little question across many different definitions, and as such, this is a very proud day for Canadian baseball.
The 27-year-old Votto was born in Toronto, and joins Larry Walker and Justin Morneau as the only Canadian-born MVPs in baseball history. Walker won in 1997 with the Rockies, when he picked up 22 of 28 first-place votes. And Morneau won in the American League in 2006, edging out Derek Jeter after picking up 15 of 28 first-place votes. Walker was born in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, while Morneau was born in New Westminster, British Columbia.
Canada has produced many other quality big leaguers, like Matt Stairs, Jason Bay, Corey Koskie, Fergie Jenkins, Ryan Dempster, and Jeff Francis. For a Canadian player to make it in the big leagues is no rarity. For a Canadian player to win the MVP, however, is a great honor, and recognition of the fact that the States needn't only look south for prime international talent.