Morneau becomes three-time Tip O'Neill Award winner

Rox slugger honored by Canadian Baseball HOF, joins ranks of Walker, Votto, Bay

Morneau becomes three-time Tip O'Neill Award winner

DENVER -- Rockies first baseman and 2014 National League batting champ Justin Morneau was announced Wednesday morning as the winner of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame's Tip O'Neill Award for the third time in his career.

Since 1984, the award has gone annually "to the Canadian player judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to baseball's highest ideals." The award is named for James "Tip" O'Neill, a Woodstock, Ontario, native who was one of the Major Leagues' first legitimate stars in the late 1800s. Morneau, a New Westminster, British Columbia, native, was chosen after fans were encouraged to vote for their top three candidates via e-mail and the Canadian Hall's website.

Morneau is the fourth player to have won the award three times. He joins former Rockies star Larry Walker of Maple Ridge, B.C., who won it nine times, Joey Votto of Etobicoke, Ontario (four times), and Jason Bay of Trail, B.C. (three times).

"I would like to start by saying thank you for being named the winner of the 2014 Tip O'Neill Award. With the high quality of Canadian baseball and softball players that now hail from Canada, it is truly one of the great honors of my career," Morneau said in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame's announcement. "To be mentioned amongst the great Canadian players in 2014, and to ultimately win the Tip O'Neill Award is very special. When you look at the list of past winners, it is truly humbling to be listed with them again. I would also like to thank the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame for not only this award, but also for doing such a great job of promoting and developing the game of baseball in Canada."

Morneau is the third Canadian to win a batting title in Major League history. O'Neill and Walker were the others.

The Hall cited Morneau and his wife, Krista, for charitable activities such as a Casino Night to benefit the Arthritis Foundation (his niece, Madelyn, suffers from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis), and a Winter Warm-Up Coat Drive for the Salvation Army in Minneapolis.

Former Pirates catcher Russell Martin, who has signed with the Blue Jays, and Mariners pitcher James Paxton, Team Canada women's MVP Stephanie Savoie and Dodgers outfielder/first baseman Jamie Romak also received consideration for the award.

Morneau will be honored at a Rockies home game in 2015.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.