Joey Votto: Shame on me if I start thinking about making Hall of Fame


Joey Votto is one of the more interesting people in baseball today. The Reds first baseman has spent all 16 years of his career in Cincinnati and he’s become a player that is beloved by most fans.

Votto was one of the best first basemen in the league during his prime. He won the NL MVP Award in 2010 thanks to career highs in home runs (37) and runs batted in (113) while slashing .324/.424/.600.

The 39-year-old slowed down a bit in recent years, especially in 2022 while being hampered by injuries, but he still managed to hit 36 home runs with 99 RBI in 2021 at 37 years old.

The six-time All-Star and 2011 Gold Glove winner is on track to at the very least receive serious consideration for the Hall of Fame when that time comes. But he isn’t thinking about that at all yet.

Votto joined WEEI’s Rob Bradford on the Audacy Original Podcast “Baseball Isn’t Boring” and explained why he isn’t ready to look ahead to the Hall of Fame while being grateful for every day.

“I’m in a place where I still have the opportunity to compete. I love my craft. I love the challenge,” Votto said (30:57 in player above). “I have the good fortune of competing at the highest level, something I’ve wanted to do from when I was a little boy. I have the opportunity to support my communities as a public figure to be able to support them in my own way that excites kids when I interact or helps people. So I have so many things that I’m grateful for and so many reasons not to even think about anything beyond today.”

Votto has done plenty of work in his community and is great with the media. He won the Reds’ Joe Nuxhall Good Guy Award in 2021 and has entertained fans on social media in recent years.

The first baseman isn’t focused on the future; he’s focused on the moment.

“I want to play well. I think everybody that puts a uniform on – whether they want to put the effort in or they don’t – I think they’re signing up to play well,” he said. “They want to succeed. They want to take from someone else. They want to take from their competition. I still crave that. And I’m not down the road yet. I can only focus on this right here, right now, and today.”

In fact, Votto has focused down the road before and he’s been punished for it, he said.

“So if I make the mistake of getting too far ahead of myself and thinking about the Hall of Fame, shame on me. Shame on it,” Votto continued. “And who says life would be better if that happens? In what way would my life be better if that happens? It would be a tremendous honor, of course, but my life is better by taking care of right here, right now.”

Votto offered a refreshing take on what is usually an intense debate around a player’s Hall of Fame candidacy. He’ll deal with it when he gets there, but for now, he’s just living in the moment.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Sarah Stier/Getty Images