Brian Snitker and Braves Managerial History

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.

Author: Rusty S.

Rusty S. is a Braves Journal reader since 2005 and an occasional innings-eater. It was my understanding that there would be no expectations.

29 thoughts on “Brian Snitker and Braves Managerial History”

  1. I was firmly in the fire Snitker camp during the first half of the year. Looking back I think they seriously underperformed and I don’t think it would have been unreasonable to go to Ron Washington. Like many, I really like the guy.

    Snit deserves credit for the 2nd half so overall I’m happy with the results. One thing I think all the deadline moves did was force Snitker to play more players and develop a rotation of sorts with outfielders. I wish he would learn that with the infield.

  2. Things I learned from your Braves managers link:

    1) Snit has been ejected from 15 games. Every Braves manager with at least 16 ejections is in the Braves Hall of Fame.

    2) Snit’s ejections have enabled the 47 non-Bobby Braves managers combined to pass Bobby’s ejection total.

    3) 12 members of the real Hall of Fame have managed the Braves. About half of these are in for their playing accomplishments (e.g., Matthews, Hornsby, Kelly), and several of the others are in for their non-Braves managerial accomplishments (e.g., Stengel, Torre).

  3. One of the criteria for players has been a string of excellence, normally over a ten year period. With that in mind, I think Snitker may be on a path to either HoF or Braves HoF but not there yet. Cox had some help from several HoF players to get to his record. Should guys like Fried, Soroka, Acuna, Albies, Freeman get into or close to HoF consideration then Snitker probably will too.

    Question….. did Cox get into either HoF because of his HoF players or did some of them get into the HoF because of Cox?

    P.S. does anyone think AA is getting close to Braves HoF credentials for his guidance of the team over the last few years? Whose contribution is more important: Snitker or AA?

    Did anyone read about the interview with AA where he said Liberty opened up the pocketbook at deadline time due to great attendance in the first half?

  4. I think Snit deserves extra credit for just his whole story and the longevity with the organization. I put him in without question whenever his time at the helm is up.

    If nothing else, he showed that Atlanta actually could win a playoff series again and winning 4 straight division titles when favored 3rd or 4th each year is impressive in its own right.

  5. Tactically speaking, I don’t think Snit is a very good manager. The statement above that many of his decisions don’t work out is spot on. However, if you listen/read what the players say about him it’s pretty clear he’s the RIGHT manager for this team right now. Everyone loves him, respects him, and plays hard for him. It’s hard to get a guy in this position that is universally revered by the team.

  6. I 100% agree with #5. He’s as close to a Red Schoendienst as we have. (Henry Aaron was another Braves org lifer, but… with the best will in the world, Snit ain’t Bad Henry.)

    Snit was extraordinarily important in the development of essentially every important homegrown Brave over the past several decades, then he went and won the division a whole bunch. What’s a team Hall of Fame for if you can’t give it to a guy who’s given you a half century and been involved in just about everything that matters for you over the past quarter century?

  7. Good piece:

    Soler has been quite valuable while producing a .882 OPS and showing his plus power for Atlanta. But it should be remembered: He was hitting .192 with a .658 OPS when the deal was done. He was also essentially a designated hitter who hadn’t played much outfield recently. Still, the Braves took a chance and immediately threw him in right field when he arrived on July 31.

    The initial plan was to do some defensive work with Soler and then put him in the lineup on Aug. 1. But manager Brian Snitker altered that plan with an early call to Anthopoulos on July 31.

    “Snit said, ‘[Soler] is swinging the bat great, maybe we should put him in there today,’” Anthopoulos said. “My thought had been to get him acclimated, but I said I thought it was a great idea. That’s why this is a collaborative thing.”

  8. If the thought is to name Snit to the Braves HOF as a team lifer then sure. If the thought is to name him because he is a great manager then no way.

  9. @3, Harry Wright is why I said “several” of the others were in for their non-Braves managerial accomplishments rather than giving an exact count. For the others, their managerial records made it a pretty easy call whether they were elected as a player (also, their BRef pages say what they were elected as), a manager but not primarily as a Braves manager, or primarily as a Braves (well, the team now known as the Braves) manager. After reading Wright’s SABR bio page, I think he could’ve been elected either for everything he did except managing the Boston franchise or just for his accomplishments as manager of the Boston franchise, but the case for the former seems a little stronger. His BRef page says he was elected as a Pioneer/Executive, which seems right to me.

    @9, could you buy naming Snitker to the Braves HOF because he has been a “successful” manager rather than a “great” one, in addition to his contributions as a lifer?

    My take on the Braves HOF is that he gets in with just a little more than he has now. That could be one WS title, maybe one NL pennant, one more division title, maybe a wild card, certainly two wild cards, and probably just two more years managing the team to over-.500 records, which would give him 600 wins and put him third on the franchise’s win list. Given his short managerial career, I don’t think he has any shot at the big HOF unless he manages the team to 3 WS wins in the next few years.

  10. Whether or not Snit makes the Braves HoF isn’t keeping me up nights, but only one other Braves manager in club history has had his team finish in first place four consecutive years… so, for that accomplishment alone, yeah, he’s gotta be in.

    Going to see the Bond flick tomorrow night. Gotta see that one on the big screen.

  11. Agreed on Snit. You might disagree with his moves, but can’t disagree with the results.

  12. It’s kind of a folly to make a Keltner List for the Braves Hall of Fame because it hasn’t been around long enough to really establish where the baseline is. But I never let something being a folly stop me.

    A couple more seasons would help his case, and as long as the end of his career is amicable, then it would likely be the kind of feel-good event that at least the Marketing department could get behind. Or the Braves could have a few bad weeks next Spring and he gets fired. Hopefully 4 division titles would give him a little more rope than that, but opinions vary.

    I’m a big Snitker fan and hope he gets any recognition that might be coming his way. It’s only good for the Braves if he adds some accomplishments.

    I’d also like to see them recognize Frank Selee, who I knew nothing about. I don’t know, maybe he made some mean tweets or something. You know how things were in the ’90s.

  13. Rusty, the Keltner list is one of my favorite Braves Journal traditions and I’m so glad you brought it back this time around!

    Selee absolutely has to be in the Braves HOF. He’s responsible for 33% of the World Championships! He managed in street clothes, which you don’t do any more, but if I recall from Chris Jaffe’s book “Evaluating Baseball’s Managers,” his record is legitimately impressive on the numbers.

  14. I know others have mentioned it, but this series really does seem to mirror the Reds series last year. Most picked the Reds noting their top 3 starters were too much for ATL, not really caring about the Reds poor offense. We all know how that turned out so let’s have a repeat.

  15. Ububba, I hope you like it. Definitely a different one.

    Cindy, to your point, I’d say he’s a good-not-great manager, great organizational guy. You’d have to be both to get in, IMO.

    Dusty, agreed that the logic for picking the Brewers is quite flawed. Definitely mirrors last year. Great point.

    Rusty, I’d love to see a criteria for a Braves Keltner. Wonder if it’s as simple as “find and replace” from “league” to “Braves”.

  16. To Rob’s rant in the last thread about playoff start times (and it was an impressive rant BTW), there’s a certain amount of no-win-situation going on here, but I think it’s better than it used to be. There have been plenty of years where the same network owned the rights to the entire (or virtually the entire) slate of Division Series games and you could find yourself on anywhere between 1 p.m. and 11 p.m. because they couldn’t stagger them at all. Splitting the rights evenly between two different entities (Turner Sports and Fox Sports, in this case) is the way to go, and allows you to stagger the games somewhat. Now the earliest game is a 2 p.m. Eastern Astros-White Sox game on MLB Network on Friday. I’m guessing those teams aren’t too impressed with that time slot, but it’s MLB Network and 1 p.m. local is still better than 11 a.m. to noon local.

    More generally, they have no financial incentive whatsoever to put every game on at 8 p.m. Eastern on four different channels. Also, the game that’s on after 9 p.m. in both cases is a game between two teams located in the Pacific time zone, so I’m not seeing the huge deal. If you think it’s too late, you may be interested to know that ratings tend to actually peak at around midnight Eastern, as that’s the point at which the wave crests on people getting home and turning the TV on versus turning the game off and going to bed. At least that was the case pre-pandemic…lord knows what the deal with that is now, but I would guess it’s generally the same.

  17. The past year seems to have been a tipping point in most of us not putting up with Chip anymore. Feels like most are ready to move on. Watching many other teams’ broadcasts opens your eyes to the possibilities. Whither Boog Sciambi?

    Along the same vein, there are some excellent, young beat writers out there covering other teams who are a joy to read and follow on social media. Dave O’Brien is not one of them. But the Athletic employs some great writers for other teams/cities. Nubyjas Wilborn used to do a great job covering Braves.

    Am I wrong in thinking some media turnover to a new generation would improve Braves fandom?

  18. @18 I think you’re right. At best, people are tired of DOB and Chip. At worst, the fact that they’re not very good has reached a point where it’s a problem. Either way, new blood in both of those seats is warranted.

  19. And of course as soon as I say that, they plant Game 3 at 1 p.m. on Monday…so that’s fun.

    It could potentially be moved up if one of the AL series is a sweep.

  20. This is my first year as a retiree watching the playoffs so the start times aren’t a big deal to me personally now. But, the fact that mlb seemingly doesn’t care about most of the fan bases is nauseating. If you are a Yankee or Dodger fan then you are assured primetime playoff games. Other fan bases get the scraps. You watch your team all year long but can’t watch the playoff game because mlb allows the network to show it at 1:00pm on a week day. It’s no wonder that baseball has lost a lot of fans over the last few years.

  21. @18 DOB has actually been better on the Athletic. He’s still too lazy to understand advanced stats, but he is better. Chip gets more obnoxious every single year.

  22. That’s funny, DOB is specifically why I didn’t renew my subscription with the Athletic (though, tbf, I don’t actually remember how much he got on my nerves at the AJC). Not because he seems uninterested in figuring out how to work new stats into his articles, but because he has no interest in editing his work. His columns read like an 8th grader trying to hit a minimum word count. They were consistently two to four times as long as other beat writers that I read, largely because they all had multiple points that were made multiple times paragraphs apart, and which were almost always accompanied by a quote from a player making the exact same point/points. I couldn’t read him, and since the Braves is what I mostly care about sports-wise, no more Athletic.

    Damn Arrozarena is so fun!

  23. To no one’s surprise, I’m a big Snit fan. How could I not be? I love a good story, and Snit reminds me of Dobbin in Vanity Fair. I’m not too sure who plays Becky Sharpe though.

  24. I think Snit is a wonderful man and I bet he is a great Dad and grandfather. I don’t really even particularly want him removed as manager. The only time I have really gotten angry with him was when he called Ronald out in a press conference for getting thrown out at 3B. He never called Dansby or Freddie out for doing the same. I was sure ready to fire him then. I hope he
    apologized to him. He’s not a good manager, but he isn’t horrible either. He’s a bad tactician but his guys never give up. Surround him with a good supporting staff and he is fine.

  25. Snit’s fine as manager. It’s the year 2021, computers fit on our wrist watches, private citizens are orbiting outer space, and the government can read our minds. But there are still two things that elude us: a Georgia national championship that any of us can remember and the ability to understand what makes a good manager. We were convinced Gabe Kapler was a bad manager, and then he wins 107 games with a bunch of accountants and stay at home dads. We thought David Ross would be a good manager, and he’s 105-117 for his career so far. Owners will spend $6M on managers like Joe Maddon, give him the two best players since Barry Bonds, and they’ll get nothing better than when they paid someone 1/12th of that.

    Snit has a .531 career winning percentage with 33% of his teams being poopy pants. I hope he gets out of this before it’s too late because his stock is about at an all-time high, and if he waits until he has a losing season, his legend will fade hard. But he’s just about what you can hope for in a manager.

  26. Wow I’ve never heard so much posturing high horsing and self hatred. 4 division titles. Snitker sucks. I don’t like Chip? What?!!! Cause the rating are so high so let’s chase away the few people that do watch baseball. You got frenchy who’s for the younger generation. Y’all say he sucks and doesn’t belong but he’s literally 1 game from the world series and soon to be in 1. If he wins 2 he’ll be the winningest manager in braves history. Like WTF are you people talking about. Does he make weird choices sometimes? Yes. Every manager does. Cox did every other game but no one’s like he sucks. Only won one world series. If Snitker wins this year he’ll do in 5 1/2 years what took Cox how many years? Yeah. Stupid people say stupid things. He constantly puts his players in a position to win. Know how I know? They keep winning. What have you done lately?

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