ATLANTA -- The Braves aren't talking, but it appears they paid for plane tickets and a hotel stay for a man who claimed to be a former Braves coach from the early 80s.
Fox Sports' Tom Hart spoke about the imposter during the game broadcast Sunday. He said the man came to town for Alumni Weekend, where former players gathered to watch John Smoltz get his number retired and play a traditional softball game together. Hart said several players noticed a man who had funny socks on, but nobody said a word to him until Bobby Cox spoke up.
"Finally halfway through the softball game Bobby Cox looked over and said, 'That's not John Sullivan," Hart said. "He has since been reported to authorities, he had an old uniform that he wore, and he has been coming to softball games for a few years but he will not be back."
The real John Sullivan was a catcher in the 60s, and then coached the Braves in the early 1980s. When Bobby Cox went to Toronto to coach, he took Sullivan with him. Sullivan stayed there for over a decade after Cox returned to Atlanta.
The Atlanta Police Department said they were not contacted about removing a trespasser Sunday. That apparently means the Braves didn't press charges, so there is no police report to identify the man. The Toronto Sun reported that the Braves paid for the imposter's plane ticket and hotel stay. A representative for the Braves refused to comment at all on the situation.
During the broadcast, former Braves star and announcer Dale Murphy said he remembered the man playing on his softball team. He said none of the former players wanted to appear rude by asking him who he was, but he noticed the man had trouble throwing the softball.
"I thought he was with the Braves, you know I thought he was a sponsor or something like that," Murphy said. "But honestly, I did not think he was a ball player."
Blogger Cody Fields of Braves 101 recorded the broadcast Sunday, and provided the audio to 11Alive.