A Defensive Move Made by JT Snow Put His Photo in the Hall of Fame

J.T. Snow is often described as a good defensive player, backing up the claim with six gold glove awards against somewhat less impressive defensive statistics (see The McCovey Chronicles take here). In his defense, he did successfully pull off a rare hidden ball trick in a 1999 game. Regardless, Snow made a brief appearance with two votes on writers’ ballots for Hall of Fame consideration in 2014. Receiving far less than the 5% of votes needed to remain on the ballot, it is safe to say the son of NFL wide receiver Jack Snow won’t be given a plaque in Cooperstown.

Snow’s Topps Finest rookie displays his glovework first on the front of the card.

Yet, for all of the above, visitors to the Hall can see his picture on the wall. The image immortalizes a play from Game 5 of the 2002 World Series. Snow was the first of two runners to cross the plate as Kenny Lofton sent a triple off the wall in center. At the plate and seemingly unaware that play was still underway was Darren Baker, a three year-old San Francisco bat boy focused on picking up the discarded bat. Snow knew another (much faster) runner was right behind him and a throw could be on its way from the outfield. He picked up Baker by his jacket, pulling the child away from a potential collision and instantly becoming a favorite of moms everywhere. This defensive maneuver turned out to be the defining moment for a player whose legacy is largely described in defensive terms.

Snow has one other interesting aspect to his career: He can call himself a Randy Johnson survivor. Snow was hit in the face by a Randy Johnson fastball at the outset of the 1997 season. Medical personnel worked on him for half an hour at the plate before taking him to a hospital. The errant pitch left his eye socket fractured in an injury scarily reminiscent of Kirby Puckett’s career-ending trauma. Snow made a full recovery and must have known what it felt like when Johnson exploded a passing bird with another pitch in 2001.