Having wrapped up his 4th consecutive division title got me to thinking about where Brian Snitker might stand in the history of Braves managers, and more specifically what would he have to do to someday be named to the Braves Hall of Fame? Snitker just moved into 5th place on the Braves all time managerial win list during the last Padres series, passing Fredi Gonzalez. He now has 441 wins and a .531 winning percentage through 6 seasons.
One tool we use in assessing Hall of Fame chances is the Keltner List. Unfortunately, we don’t have a Keltner List for the Braves Hall of Fame, but luckily Braves Journal has an honored tradition of modifying the list in interesting ways. Ladies and gentlemen, I present Devo. So, here’s my attempt at a modified Keltner List for managers relative to the Braves Hall of Fame.
Q. Was he ever regarded as the best manager in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best manager in baseball?
A. Snitker was National League manager of the year in 2018.
Q. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?
A. He won 4 consecutive division titles.
Q. Was he a good enough manager that he could continue to manage regularly after passing his prime?
A. He was 60 when he started managing the Braves, so I’m going with yeah.
Q. Is he the very best manager in Braves baseball history who is not in the Braves Hall of Fame?
A. Frank Selee went 1004 – 649 from 1890 – 1901, and won 5 NL pennants. His win total is 2nd in Braves history, his .604 winning percentage is the highest in Braves history (minimum 162 games,) and he is in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, you know, the one in Cooperstown. (Selee never won a World Series, however I’m sure his apologists will have some kind of excuse.) Anyway, this one is going to be a “No.”
Q. Are most Braves managers who have comparable career statistics in the Braves Hall of Fame?
A. That would be the aforementioned Gonzalez with 434 wins, a .512 winning percentage, and 1 division championship or Billy Southworth with 424 wins, a .542 winning percentage, and 1 NL pennant. In either case, the answer is “No.”
Q. Do his numbers meet Braves Hall of Fame standards?
A. The only* manager in the Braves Hall of Fame is Bobby Cox. This is gonna be a “NO.” No, no, no, no. (*We all know Eddie Mathews is not in the Braves Hall of Fame as a manager.)
Q. Is there any evidence to suggest that he was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?
A. Every season Snitker makes literally hundreds of decisions that do not work out. It is astounding in light of this that the Braves immediately got better the week he took over, and went on to win 4 consecutive division championships.
Q. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?
A. In addition to being named NL manager of the year in 2018, he finished 3rd in 2019 and 4th in 2020.
Q. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the other managers who played in this many go into the Hall of Fame?
A. Snitker was named as a coach for the 2019 All-Star game.
Q. If this man were manager, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?
A. I have it on good authority that no team is likely to win a pennant.
Q. What impact did he have on Braves history? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?
A. I always look at this as the question that means “not withstanding all that, is there some reason we can put him in the Hall of Fame anyway?” Brian Snitker is living, as we speak, and if you’re going to have a Hall of Fame ceremony, you might as have someone who could show up. And after all, Joe Simpson is in the Braves Hall of Fame. So maybe Bobby Cox is not the right bar.
My conclusion? We really don’t have enough data to know what the criteria are for the Braves Hall of Fame. Nothing they would do either way would surprise me. If he won the World Series this year and stepped away, I’d bet they would put him in.
Objectively, it’s hard to see any case today why he should go in before Frank Selee. Seriously, that guy needs some love. Looking forward, Snitker turns 66 this month. If he could manage two more seasons of just 70 wins each he would move into 3rd place on the all time Braves list. That, and/or a World Series title ought to be enough to draw a nice crowd for his induction.