By John Royster
Paul Snyder never blew his own horn. And it took many years before anyone else blew it for him.
Snyder, who signed with the then-Milwaukee Braves as a player in 1957 and stayed with the organization until his retirement in 1999, is known best as a scout.
But he served the Braves in a variety of capacities, largely because they never seemed to know what to do with him. After a bad back curtailed his playing career, he served as a player/
manager and then a manager in the mid-1960s. In 1966, the Braves first year in Atlanta, he held a job that had nothing to do with coaching or scouting. He was the director of stadium operations.
He became a scout the next year, but was sidetracked from his true calling again from 1972-76, when he served first as manager at Class A Greenwood and then as assistant farm director. He became scouting director in 77. After that his title changed a few times, but his job was always evaluating talent.
Not that being the Braves scouting director in the late 70s and early 80s was a sought-after job. But when the team won big in the 1990s, largely with homegrown talent, Snyder was recognized as one of the primary architects. He is fond of saying he never signed a playerthe area scouts did thatyet he had a hand in the acquisition of nearly every Braves star from Dale Murphy to Chipper Jones.
His reward was being replaced as scouting director in 1991 when Chuck LaMar was brought in. He became a special assistant to general manager John Schuerholz, and then a regional crosschecker, until LaMar left to become GM of the Devil Rays and Snyder returned as scouting and farm director.
Snyder and LaMar shared a preference for high school players, and they werent afraid of raw talent. "The habits you have at 17 or 18 are much easier to break than the habits you have at 21 and 22," Snyder said in 1996. "Its much easier for us to train someone in the Atlanta Braves way the earlier we get them."
Perhaps Snyder got shuffled in office politics because he was so seldom in the office. It was much easier to spot him around the concession stand in Greenville or Danville. Bad back and all, he drove tens of thousands of miles yearly in pursuit of talent.
"Working for one organization for as long as I have is a two-way street," he said. "Im thankful for the opportunity that this organization has given me over the years. Ive lived my whole life figuring that as long as I had a roof over my head and three squares, I was doing pretty good."
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