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Kindred: In Brian and Troy Snitker, Bloomington’s Carol Ketterer has family on both sides in World Series

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Carol Ketterer with family.jpeg

Carol Ketterer of Bloomington (right) takes in a past Atlanta Braves game with (from left) her sister, Ronnie Snitker; her brother, Glenn Sylvester; her sister-in-law, Jean Sylvester; and her daughters, Caitlin and Victoria Ketterer. Carol Ketterer has a dual family connection in the World Series with her brother-in-law, Braves manager Brian Snitker, and her nephew, Astros co-hitting coach Troy Snitker. 

Carol Ketterer grew up in Verona, Pennsylvania, a borough 13 miles from downtown Pittsburgh. The family’s baseball rooting interest was with the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was an easy choice.

World Series Baseball

Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker and Houston Astros hitting coach Troy Snitker speak during a news conference before the World Series.

Baseball is a bit more complicated for Ketterer these days. The Bloomington woman has a family connection on both sides in the ongoing World Series.

Her brother-in-law, Brian Snitker, is manager of the Atlanta Braves. Her nephew, Troy Snitker (Brian’s son), is co-hitting coach for the Houston Astros.

Stuck in the middle is Ketterer’s sister, Veronica (Ronnie) Snitker, Brian’s wife and Troy’s mother. It’s a challenge for Ketterer here in Central Illinois as well, though she will tell you it is a good — even wonderful — problem to have.

World Series Family Affair Baseball

Houston Astros hitting coach Troy Snitker, left, stands with his father Braves manager Brian Snitker before a spring baseball exhibition game, Monday, March 4, 2019, in Kissimmee, Fla.

“I feel extremely blessed to have both of them, not only for them to be in the World Series, but for them to be the kind of people they are,” Ketterer said. “They’ve just always been giving, loving, generous people. It’s never about them. It’s always about somebody else.

“They’re very humble people. That’s something I like ... not only to be a role model for myself, but for my children. And it tells them, ‘Hey, you can come from a small town and look how far you can go if you just keep up with your dream.’”

Brian Snitker indeed is a small town guy. He grew up in Macon, near Decatur, and was a sophomore outfielder on the 1971 Macon Ironmen, the smallest school to reach the one-class state baseball tournament championship game. Macon finished second, but its journey became the subject of a Sports Illustrated article and later a book, “One Shot at Forever,” by Chris Ballard.

World Series Baseball

Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker and Houston Astros hitting coach Troy Snitker speaks during a news conference before Game 1 of baseball's World Series Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Ketterer didn’t know Snitker in those days. Nor did her sister. Ronnie Sylvester met Snitker on a blind date years later in Georgia, where she had moved to be a speech pathologist.

They hit it off and Ketterer soon became a Snitker fan as well. She still is.

“He’s always been very generous with the family,” Ketterer said. “He’s always very welcoming to everybody who is with him. After games (when they attend), we usually go back to his hotel with him and sit and have a little catching up to do. Even though he’s busy, he takes time out to sit and be with us for a little bit, even if it can only be for a little bit because he’s exhausted.”

Typically those are regular-season games in St. Louis when Ronnie is traveling with her husband. During the postseason, Ketterer has been watching the playoffs and World Series like the rest of us … on television.

Ronnie Snitker and Carol Ketterer.jpeg

Carol Ketterer of Bloomington (right) has been alongside her sister, Ronnie Snitker (left), over the years at baseball games. Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker is Ketterer's brother-in-law and Houston Astros co-hitting coach Troy Snitker is her nephew. 

Yet, she has a terrific inside source.

“I’m the youngest of nine children, so we do a big group text where she (Ronnie) keeps us posted on when they’re leaving, that they’ve gotten to wherever they’re supposed to be safely, how the game’s going and different things that she’s doing,” Ketterer said.

“We were hoping for this last year, that it would be the Braves against the Astros. It didn’t quite pan out for either of them. We are very proud of both of them (Brian and Troy) that they were able to get into the World Series. It’s quite a feat for both of them.”

It makes for interesting viewing for Ketterer, who currently has a medical issue that is keeping her from her job on the support staff in the Bloomington Fire Department. She hopes to return to the position.

Ketterer’s husband, Douglas, died in December 2010 at age 45. Ketterer has carried on with the love and support of their daughters, Victoria and Caitlin. Likely, they are tuning into the World Series as well, torn between rooting for their uncle or cousin.

Brian Snitker, 66, has been in the Braves organization since 1977 in various roles, serving as a minor-league player (1977-80), minor-league coach, minor-league manager, major-league coach and now, five years as manager. Troy Snitker, 32, has been on the Astros’ major-league coaching staff since 2019.

“We’re kind of leaning toward the Braves, only because of Brian being with the Braves for so long,” Ketterer said. “He’s worked so hard for this. We’d like to see him kind of come full circle on this. It just would be the cherry on top for him I think.”

No matter the outcome, the Snitkers can celebrate a World Series championship. That’s an enviable position for a proud baseball family.

Pretty special for a proud extended family as well.