Paul Snyder, a key figure in Atlanta Braves franchise history who deserves as much credit for the team's storied run during the '90s as any non-uniform personnel, died on Thursday, the team announced. He was 88 years old.
Snyder was a lifer in the Braves organization in more ways than one. He began his baseball career on the field, spending seven seasons in the Braves' minor-league system as a first baseman and outfielder. (At the time, the Braves were still located in Milwaukee.) He finished his career with a .318/.388/.477 slash line, though he never did make it to the majors.
Snyder would transition into coaching and scouting ahead of his 30th birthday. Later, he would take over as scouting director, beginning a storied run that saw him draft and sign an assortment of notable players, ranging from Tom Glavine to David Justice, Chipper Jones to Steve Avery, and countless others.
The Braves won the National League East division each year from 1991-2005. (It should be noted that they trailed in the division by six games when the 1994 season was canceled because of the players' strike.) That dominant run can be attributed to the players; general manager John Schuerholz and field manager Bobby Cox; and lesser-publicized figures, like Snyder and Roy Clark.
Through it all, Snyder endured a number of medical scares, as reported by the York Daily Record following his retirement in 2008:
He's had a few heart surgeries over the years, including one huge scare in 2005 when a valve began leaking, making it almost impossible to breathe.
He had a stroke 30 years ago that required brain surgery — and made him learn to walk and talk and eat again.
He's had two spinal fusion surgeries, one last summer.
Snyder was inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame in 2005. He was enshrined in the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame in 2013.