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Cleveland Guardians slugger Josh Naylor wins 2023 Tip O'Neill award

SAINT MARYS, ONTARIO — Cleveland Guardians slugger Josh Naylor has won the 2023 Tip O’Neill Award.

The honour is awarded annually by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum to the Canadian Major League Baseball player judged to excel in individual achievement and team contribution "while adhering to baseball’s highest ideals."

Naylor, a first-time winner of the award, led Canadian major-leaguers in batting average (.308), slugging percentage (.489), on-base percentage plus slugging percentage (OPS) (.843), doubles (31), runs batted in (97) and stolen bases (10) despite missing more than a month with an oblique injury.

Naylor, from Mississauga, Ont., led the Guardians in batting average and RBIs, and made major-league history on July 14 when he and his younger brother, Bo, became the first brothers to hit home runs for the same team in the same inning.

Two Blue Jays, Montreal-born slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and closer Jordan Romano (Markham, Ont.) were finalists for the award, along with Minnesota second baseman Edouard Julien (Quebec City) and Seattle pitcher Matt Brash (Kingston, Ont.).

Past winners of the award, which has been handed out since 1984, include Hall of Famer Larry Walker (nine times), 2010 National League MVP Joey Votto (seven times), 2006 American League MVP Justin Morneau (three times), Guerrero and Romano.

"Josh Naylor had his best major league season in 2023 and his energy and enthusiasm for the game of baseball make him so much fun to watch," Jeremy Diamond, chair of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s board of directors, said in a release.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2023.

The Canadian Press