Canadian sweep for Aaron Award

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:19 AM ET

ARLINGTON, Tex. -- The door opened and the long line made its way into the crowded interview room.

Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays, the Hank Aaron Award winner in the American League and Etobicoke's Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds, the NL winner, with their entourage and PR types.

"I feel like I'm in a wedding procession," Votto said as he turned, whispering in a hushed tone.

Both Bautista and Votto spoke in hushed voices discussing Aaron after being presented the award, which goes annually to the best offensive player in each league, this year a Canadian sweep.

Besides fan balloting on MLB.com,Hall of Famers Harmon Killebrew, Willie McCovey, Paul Molitor, Tony Gwynn, Billy Williams and Robin Yount voted.

Bautistia, who hit 54 homers to win the AL title and knocked in 124 RBIs, referred to Aaron as Mr. Aaron.

"Winning a great honor like this, you have to thank all the people who allowed you to get to this position," Bautista said. "I'd like to thank my family and obviously all the fans, the Hall of Famers, and Mr. Hank Aaron.

"Knowing all Mr. Aaron had to go through in his career, it's an honour amongst the recipients of this award."

Votto, finished in the top three in triple-crown categories with a .324 average, 37 homers and 113 RBIs. leading the Reds to a division title.

"This is the first award I've won and if it's the last one, what an honour. I was voted into the all-star game by fans and this is another fan award. I'm a fan of the game, especially its history, to have been picked by Hall of Fame players means a lot.

"My manager Dusty Baker played with Henry Aaron and I heard the stories--all good stories. I know Dusty is going to be proud."

Votto said Baker told him stories how he was a hothead as a youngster, but Aaron took Baker under his wing.

Aaron said "I want to let people know that the game is where it was 20 years ago," Aaron said, "when you see young players like this who won the award, young players, rest assured that the game is still in great hands."

Will Votto win the NL MVP?

"I don't see any reason why not," said ESPN broadcaster and Hall of Famer Joe Morgan. "Votto knows how to play the game, I saw a lot of him this season."


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