It’s official: the Braves have named Brian Snitker their new manager, removing the “interim” tag and giving him the job on a permanent basis. Or, at least as permanent as any manager’s job can be. He beat out candidates Bud Black and Ron Washington for the job. Washington was named the Braves third base coach, Chuck Hernandez is the new pitching coach.
Snitker took over as the Braves’ interim manager after the club fired Fredi Gonzalez. They went 9-28 (.243) under Gonzalez but 59-65 (.476) under Snitker. They played especially well in the season’s last two months, and reports from insiders suggest that he had the strong support of the Braves clubhouse, from veterans like Matt Kemp and Freddie Freeman all the way on down to their numerous rookies. A team that was in utter disarray last spring went about its business in a professional and increasingly accomplished manner after Snitker took over. It’s hard to say whether Snitker was the reason for that, but he certainly was not an impediment to it.
Snitker has been a part of the Braves’ organization for nearly 40 years in one capacity or another, playing in the system as a minor leaguer from 1977-80 and coaching at every single level. Before taking the Braves top job last May he had been the manager of the Durham Bulls, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Greenville Braves, the Mississippi Braves and the Richmond Braves, all in the Braves farm system either now or at the time. He has been the big league bullpen coach and a third base coach. It wouldn’t shock me if he sold foam tomahawks and advised Ted Turner on the Len Barker trade back in the day. Apart from Hank Aaron, there probably isn’t a longer-tenured Braves employee. What’s more, Snitker continues a 30+ year streak of the Braves hiring managers from within the organization. The last Braves manager hired from the outside: Chuck Tanner before the 1986 season.
Now Snitker enters his first offseason as the Braves big league manager.