A few days after Dusty Baker was robbed of NL Manager of the Year honors by Bud Black, whose Padres didn’t even make the playoffs, the Cincinnati Reds were finally rewarded for their impressive 2010 season when Joey Votto nabbed 31 out of 32 first place votes and was crowned NL MVP.
Being a Reds fan, I may be a little bit biased but it was clear that Votto was the Most Valuable Player in the National League this season. The Reds run to their first playoff appearance in 15 years wouldn’t have even been imaginable without Votto’s extraordinary season.
The honor couldn’t have been bestowed on a better person. Votto is a mild-mannered, all business, modest player who avoids the limelight at all costs. He is an unquestioned leader in the clubhouse who leads by his actions. He is also a little more than two years removed from the biggest tragedy of his life when his 52 year-old father died suddenly in August of 2008. Votto didn’t speak much about the tragedy during the ’08 season but suffered from depression and anxiety during the offseason and into the ’09 regular season. During the ’09 campaign Votto was placed on the Disabled List for 21 games because of anxiety issues.
Votto’s personal struggles and bout with depression make his improbable MVP run that much more incredible. Here’s a great article about how Joey’s thoughts were with his father when he heard about the honor.