Photo: Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

June 15, 2024

Official Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame News Release

Cleveland Guardians slugger Josh Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) will be presented with the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s 2023 Tip O’Neill Award in the Toronto Blue Jays media room at Rogers Centre prior to the game on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16.  

The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame 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. 

“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 in 2023, 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 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,” said Naylor. “The fact I was even nominated was an honour knowing who this award represents.” 

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 24-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 

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