Joey Votto is a Canadian professional baseball player, best known for his stellar career with the Cincinnati Reds in Major League Baseball (MLB). Over the years, he has emerged as one of the finest first basemen in the game, making his mark with his phenomenal hitting ability and sound defensive skills.
Joey Votto was born on September 10, 1983, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He was born to parents Wendy Howell and Joseph Votto and spent his childhood in Etobicoke. His mother works as a sommelier and manages a restaurant, while his father, who was a chef and an avid baseball enthusiast, sadly passed away in 2008 when he was just 52.
Votto has Italian and English heritage. From a young age, he was a fan of Ted Williams, a fact evidenced by the poster of the baseball legend adorning his childhood room’s wall.
From an early age, he exhibited a strong passion for baseball, honing his skills in the sport throughout his childhood. Votto attended Richview Collegiate Institute in Etobicoke, Toronto, where he starred on the school’s baseball team.
In 1997, Votto began attending Richview Collegiate Institute for his high school education. Alongside baseball, he showed his athletic versatility by also playing basketball, where he even played as a point guard and once scored an impressive 37 points in a single game, and hockey. He was a part of the Etobicoke Rangers baseball program during his time there. After graduating from high school, he committed to continuing his baseball career at the collegiate level, signing a National Letter of Intent to play for the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.
Despite the prevalence of hockey in Canada, Votto remained focused on baseball, eventually getting his big break when he was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2002 MLB draft.
Votto made his MLB debut with the Cincinnati Reds in 2007. Since then, he has been a significant part of the Reds’ lineup, consistently delivering stellar performances both offensively and defensively. Votto has developed into one of the most consistent hitters in MLB, known for his patience at the plate, power hitting, and high on-base percentage. He has consistently been among the league leaders in walks and on-base percentage, earning him recognition as one of the most disciplined hitters in baseball.
In the 2002 MLB draft, Joey Votto was picked in the second round by the Cincinnati Reds as the 44th overall selection directly from high school. He began his career in the minors playing for the Reds’ affiliate team, the Dayton Dragons, in the Class A Midwest League. During his time there, he demonstrated his offensive prowess, hitting 26 doubles and 14 home runs while maintaining an average of .302. He was then promoted to the Potomac Cannons of the Class A-Advanced Carolina League, adding five more home runs in 20 games to his season total.
Notably, Votto showed his versatility in the minor leagues, not only playing at first base but also making appearances in the outfield and as a catcher. However, during the 2005 season with the Sarasota Reds, he hit 19 home runs, but his average dropped to .256, and he struck out 122 times.
The 2006 season marked a turning point for Votto, as he had his best season in the minors while playing for the Chattanooga Lookouts of the Class AA Southern League. He significantly improved his batting average to .319, hitting 46 doubles and 22 home runs. Votto was a leader in the Southern League in several categories and was selected to play in the 2006 All-Star Futures Game. He was recognized in both Mid-Season and Post-Season Southern League All-Star teams and was named a minor league all-star by Baseball America. His superb performance culminated in him receiving the Southern League Most Valuable Player Award.
Throughout his time in the minors, Votto always kept a copy of Ted Williams’ “The Science of Hitting” with him. Later in 2006, prior to starting his MLB career, Votto played in the Dominican Winter League for the Leones del Escogido team during the 2006-2007 season. He has shown great respect for the Dominican league and notably honored the late Dominican player Tony Fernández with a message on his cap in 2020, following Fernández’s passing.
Up until the conclusion of 2022, his career batting average stood at .297, with a total of 342 home runs and 1,106 runs batted in. Despite missing more than 50 games in 2012, he still led the National League in bases on balls, a title he also clinched in 2011 with 110. With an impressive career on-base percentage (OBP) of .412 (up until 2022), he managed to surpass the .400 OBP mark in nine individual seasons.
This achievement placed him at the top of the National League in this category seven times, specifically from 2010 to 2013 and again from 2016 to 2018. Despite recording a .459 OBP in 2015, the second highest of his career, he fell just short to Bryce Harper, who achieved a .460 OBP that year. As of 2022, he has accomplished three separate 3-home run games in his Major League Baseball (MLB) career.
On the defensive end, Votto topped the league in assists as a first baseman in 2008, and successfully repeated this accomplishment in 2011 and 2012. He ranked fifth and second respectively in assists in 2009 and 2010, with 101 and 128 assists. 2011 saw him leading all National League first basemen in putouts with a total of 1,341, while also placing third in fielding percentage at .996. This outstanding performance in 2011 won him his initial Gold Glove Award.
As of 2023, Joey Votto’s estimated net worth is around $110 million. This wealth comes primarily from his lucrative baseball contracts, notably a 10-year, $225 million contract extension he signed with the Reds in 2012, making him one of the highest-paid players in the game. Additionally, he earns from endorsements and other business interests.
Over his illustrious career, Joey Votto has garnered numerous accolades and awards. These include: