Feb. 26, 2021 –
BY KEVIN CALPIN
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – When the Braves parted ways with Fredi Gonzalez in 2016, it seemed like Brian Snitker was viewed as more of a placeholder than anything. The former third base coach was “promoted” to manager at Triple-A following the 2013 season. At the time, it could’ve been easy for Snit to move on to another organization. But he’s said time and time again, “I’m a Brave, this is where I want to be.” Well, once again, the 65 year old skipper got his wish as the club signed him to an extension through the 2023 season, with a team option for 2024.
The 2018 National League Manager of the Year, Snitker led his team to its first division title in five years, guiding the Braves to a 90-72 record, an improvement of 18 wins from the prior year. In 2019, the team ran away and hit with the NL East, recording 97 wins. And last year, completed the three-peat as NL East champs. Following the 2020 campaign, Snitker became the first manager in franchise history to guid the Braves to the Playoffs in three of his first four full seasons at the helm.
This season will mark Snitker’s 45th with the organization. None of this would’ve been possible without the late Hank Aaron. At the time, Aaron was the club’s farm director, while Snitker was trying to make it as a Minor League catcher. In 1981, when it was clear his playing career wasn’t going to pan out, Aaron released Snitker. However, he immediately offered Snit an opportunity to coach in the Minor League system. And over the next couple decades, Snitker stopped in just about every small town in the Southeast. Here he is, 40 years later, sitting as one of the most successful managers in franchise history, with a chance to guide this potent ballclub to its first World Series title since 1995.
Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet