Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Snider Endures off the Field Loss of Mother, Others Shaped His Life

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Snider Endures off the Field Loss of Mother, Others Shaped His Life

Article excerpt

Throughout a 162-game season, even the best baseball players deal with a lot of loss. And as the stakes grow higher, so does the impact of those defeats.

There are hard losses. Painful losses. Devastating losses.

Travis Snider knows too well the meaning of all three. And they have nothing to do with any game he has played on a field.

His mother, Patty, died in a car accident when Snider was 19. In the two years before that, Snider grieved over the death of two grandparents, who played a vital role in his childhood. In the past few years, Snider has coped with the deaths of a summer league baseball coach, a family friend and two high school football teammates.

"Him having to go through things, with my mom passing away, it's forced him to grow up and realize what loss is," said Snider's sister, Megan Hull. "He's the most mature 25-year-old I know."

Through it all, Snider has gained a sense of perspective that even those who have played the game for more than a decade hope to grasp. And it has allowed him to enjoy his successes and embrace each moment, though he needed a lot of support to find that acceptance.

"Nobody understands death," Snider's father, Denne Snider, said. "Especially if it's an early death."

*

Travis Snider remembers being an angry child.

He remembers kicking down a door when he was 8. He remembers vicious arguments with his older sister. He remembers lashing out when playing sports, whether it was Little League baseball, youth soccer, basketball or football.

"I didn't play well in the sandbox," he said.

When he was a freshman in high school, he discovered his mother unconscious on the bathroom floor, the result of a liver illness. She was in a coma for two weeks, and the stress of the incident stoked the anger issues in Snider that he had been dealing with since his early childhood.

"Neither of us wanted to leave the hospital," his sister recalled. "You could see it in his eyes, he didn't really know what to do. I was worried about him being my younger brother. He never showed a significant amount of emotion."

His mother's illness proved taxing on the family. She physically recovered, but suffered from memory loss. His parents divorced, though Denne continued to support the family by taking on an extra job to help with the growing medical bills.

After the episode, Snider, who grew up near Seattle, sought counseling for anger management. He continued counseling through his first several years as a professional baseball player in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

While the Blue Jays helped Snider cope off the field, he found respite in his time on the diamond.

*

As a child, he was always one of the best players on the field. He was a first-round draft pick out of high school and quickly soared through the professional ranks. …

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