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Josh Naylor captures Tip O'Neill Award for 2023


St. Marys, Ont. – Cleveland Guardians slugger Josh Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) has been named the winner of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s 2023 Tip O’Neill Award.

Canada’s baseball shrine presents this honour annually to the Canadian player judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to baseball’s highest ideals.

Naylor, who topped Canadian major leaguers in several offensive categories in 2023, is a first-time winner of the award. He staved off strong competition from fellow major leaguers Jordan Romano (Markham, Ont.), Edouard Julien (Quebec City, Que.), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Montreal, Que.) and Matt Brash (Kingston, Ont.) to secure the honour.

"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," said Jeremy Diamond, chair of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s board of directors. "He has also become a wonderful role model through his work with the Ronald McDonald House and other charities. We’re proud to recognize him with this award."

Despite missing more than a month with an oblique injury, Naylor topped all Canadian big leaguers in batting average (.308), slugging percentage (.489), OPS (.843), doubles (31), RBIs (97) and stolen bases (10). In all, in 121 games with the Guardians, he had 139 hits.

His 97 RBIs were the eighth in the American League and he also ranked in the top 10 in the AL with seven sacrifice flies (seventh) and nine intentional walks (fourth). His .308 batting average was the sixth highest batting average in the major leagues for players who suited up for at least 120 games.

For the Guardians, Naylor led the team in batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+ (133) and RBIs. He also made major league history on July 14 when he and his younger brother, Bo, became the first brothers to belt home runs for the same team in the same inning. In the third inning of that contest against the Texas Rangers, after outfielder Myles Straw reached on a single to begin the inning, Bo hit a two-run home run to right field. Four batters later, Josh followed with a two-run homer of his own.

For his efforts in 2023, the older Naylor garnered a 10th place vote in the American League MVP voting, which made him the 22nd Canadian ever to receive a major league MVP vote.

The 2023 campaign was Naylor’s fourth with the Guardians. After honing his skills with the Ontario Blue Jays and Junior National Team, Naylor was selected 12th overall by the Miami Marlins in the 2015 MLB draft. After tenures in the Marlins and San Diego Padres organizations, he was traded to the Guardians, along with fellow Canadian Cal Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.), on August 31, 2020.

Since joining the Guardians, Naylor has been a regular at charitable events. In 2023, he started the Cooking with Naylor program at the Ronald McDonald House which supplies baseball-themed boxed lunches to children and parents staying in the facilities and in Ronald McDonald Family Rooms in Cleveland-area hospitals.

In the off-season, Naylor has also supported the Shoe Box Project, which fills shoeboxes with gifts for women in emergency shelters and temporary housing in the Greater Toronto Area.

"Being on the same list as all those previous winners is an honour and what makes receiving this award even more special. The fact I was even nominated was an honour knowing who this award represents." said Josh Naylor.

Details about the presentation of the 2023 Tip O’Neill Award will be announced in the coming months.

The Hall’s Tip O’Neill Award is named after Woodstock, Ont., native James "Tip" O’Neill, who was one of Major League Baseball’s first legitimate stars. With the American Association’s St. Louis Browns in 1887, O’Neill set big league records in hits, doubles, slugging percentage and total bases, while compiling a major league record .492 batting average. Walks were counted as hits in 1887, but if O’Neill’s average was calculated by today’s standards, it would be .435, the second highest in big league history to Hugh Duffy who hit .440 in 1894.

To determine the winner of the Tip O’Neill Award, the Hall takes into account a number of criteria, including each candidate’s on-the-field performance, contributions to their team, community and charitable endeavors and their support in fan voting. The Hall also has a Tip O’Neill Award committee, consisting of a 23-person panel of Canadian baseball experts, that votes on the honour.

Past winners of the James "Tip" O’Neill Award:

1984 – Terry Puhl

1985 – Dave Shipanoff

1986 – Rob Ducey

1987 – Larry Walker

1988 – Kevin Reimer

1989 – Steve Wilson

1990 – Larry Walker

1991 – Daniel Brabant

1992 – Larry Walker

1993 – Rob Butler

1994 – Larry Walker

1995 – Larry Walker

1996 – Jason Dickson

1997 – Larry Walker

1998 – Larry Walker

1999 – Jeff Zimmerman

2000 – Ryan Dempster

2001 – Corey Koskie

2001 – Larry Walker

2002 – Eric Gagné

2002 – Larry Walker

2003 – Eric Gagné

2004 – Jason Bay

2005 – Jason Bay

2006 – Justin Morneau

2007 – Russell Martin

2008 – Justin Morneau

2009 – Jason Bay

2010 – Joey Votto

2011 – Joey Votto

2011 – John Axford

2012 – Joey Votto

2013 – Joey Votto

2014 – Justin Morneau

2015 – Joey Votto

2016 – Joey Votto

2017 – Joey Votto

2018 – James Paxton

2019 – Mike Soroka

2020 – Jamie Romak

2021 – Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

2022 – Jordan Romano

2023 – Josh Naylor