Braves fans have waited 26 years to experience another World Series championship. For manager Brian Snitker, the road to the top took a little bit longer.
In his sixth season as manager, Snitker led Atlanta to its fourth title on Tuesday night. But the victory capped a journey that was 45 years in the making, dating back to when the 66-year-old first joined the Braves' minor league system as a player. After a winding path through the minors as a coach and later as an assistant on the major league club, Snitker has finally summited the sport's mountaintop.
"I'm numb...After all these years, what I've put my family through, my wife. It's unbelievable," an emotional Snitker said in a post-game interview.
Speaking to his team in the clubhouse during the celebration, Snitker lauded them for their accomplishments before hoisting the World Series trophy and getting ambushed with champagne and beer.
Snitker's minor league playing career ended in 1980, and after getting a call from Braves legend Henry Aaron—who was the club's farm director at that time—he began his coaching career. Despite multiple stints as an assistant for the big-league club, Snitker was routinely sent back down to manage in the minor leagues. He eventually was promoted to the major leagues to stay in 2007 as Atlanta's third base coach.
Snitker took over as the team's manager in 2016, and was named the National League's Manager of the Year in 2018. After such a long journey to this point, Snitker finally gained perspective of how far he's come during an interview earlier this season.
“It is surreal. I’ve been in this thing 45 years and 40 of them, just grinding. I’ve been very blessed," Snitker said. "I should take more heed of that, quite honestly. I’m too hard on myself and beat myself up. I should realize what I’ve accomplished.”
After Tuesday night, he can now add World Series champion manager to the list.
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