ATLANTA — Craig Counsell didn’t have the enjoyment of taking pleasure in the decades-long relationship Braves supervisor Brian Snitker shown Hank Aaron. But the Brewers skipper will permanently treasure the day the renowned slugger was so thinking about discovering how Counsell ended up being a Major Leaguer after maturing in Milwaukee’s cold environment.
“I don’t think you forget talking to somebody like Henry Aaron,” Counsell stated. “If you know Atlanta and Milwaukee, you know these are the cities he held near to his heart, so he would love the series. He would have loved this series. It would have been Henry’s series for sure.”
With the Braves-Brewers National League Division Series moving to Truist Park for Game 3 on Monday, there will once again be factor to commemorate the memory of Aaron, who passed away on Jan. 22, 2021. The Hall of Famer started his profession with the Milwaukee Braves, attained famous status as member of the Atlanta Braves and after that concluded his profession with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Aaron moved with the Braves to Atlanta in 1966 and continued to call Georgia house over the last 50-plus years of his life. But he constantly had an authentic gratitude for Milwaukee.
“The feelings of nostalgia of not having him here are big,” Braves chairman Terry McGuirk stated.
Aaron’s partner, Billye, and his boy, Lary, who is a Brewers scout, will be presence for Game 3. Aaron’s friend and previous Braves colleague Ralph Garr will exist, too. Garr is slated to toss out the ritualistic very first pitch, and his ideas will certainly be on Aaron and Phil Niekro, another previous Braves colleague who passed away on Dec. 26, 2020.
Like Aaron, Niekro debuted with the Milwaukee Braves and after that delighted in a long period with the franchise after Bill Bartholomay moved the club to Atlanta. Bartholomay passed away on March 25, 2020.
“It would have been so cool had [Aaron] been here,” Snitker stated. “He’d have been really proud right now of what we’re doing. There weren’t three bigger Atlanta Braves fans than Hank, Knucksie [Niekro] and Mr. B. They hung on everything we did, and they were so supportive. We’re going to miss them all.”
It was Aaron who sensibly recommended Snitker end his days as a Minor League catcher and start a training profession in 1980. The famous figure was the Braves’ farm director at the time. He provided Snitker his very first supervisory task in ’82 and after that enjoyed him fill a huge selection of functions within the company prior to lastly ending up being a Major League supervisor in 2016.
Snitker delighted in the lots of discussions he showed Aaron, specifically the congratulatory ones that took place as the Braves made their method to Game 7 of the NL Championship Series in 2015. The guy who broke Babe Ruth’s crowning achievement record might have been 85 at the time, however he constantly kept a youth enthusiasm for the Braves and the video game of baseball.
“I was so appreciative of the fact that he would take the time to congratulate me on things and our team,” Snitker stated. “It’s like I told [the players], there’s no bigger fan of the Atlanta Braves than him. He just was always pulling for the guys. I know he’d be very proud. Right now, I’m sure he’s bragging a lot to anybody who will listen. It’s cool to know that he is doing that.”
McGuirk is amongst the lots of other members of the Braves company who want Aaron would have had the ability to enjoy this very first playoff match in between Atlanta and Milwaukee. The longtime Braves executive hung around on Saturday with previous Commissioner Bud Selig — who, like McGuirk, admired Aaron long prior to becoming his friend.
“I would say he was the Braves’ greatest fan,” McGuirk stated. “He was an observer and a fan, however he was an expert all of the time. He would pertain to see me a minimum of when a month throughout the season to speak about the group and what he saw from his analysis. We all motivated him, due to the fact that when you get a review from Hank Aaron, you go to the bank with it.
“He was always my hero, so I treated him that way. But he wanted to be a friend and wanted to be treated like a friend. I was very, very lucky to have that relationship.”
But as one of Snitker’s associates discovered, not all good friends are always on the exact same level.
“I was on a call with a buddy of mine,” Snitker stated. “[The number] came through, and I said, ‘I think I’m going to put you on hold here; Hank Aaron is calling me.’”
The memories will continue to surface area throughout this NLDS. As Bob Uecker manages his radio expert responsibilities for the Brewers on Monday, he’ll be recollecting about the terrific days he invested with Aaron and a few of his other previous Milwaukee Braves colleagues.
“I’ve been thinking about Henry,” Uecker stated over the weekend. “We were talking about him on the broadcast. Henry and [Warren] Spahn and [Eddie] Mathews, the big names with the Braves.”