A man claiming to be former Braves bullpen coach John Sullivan infiltrated the team’s alumni weekend in Atlanta before admitting he had scammed his way into the event.
According to The Journal-Constitution, the middle-aged man, who remains unidentified, raised the eyebrows of former Braves players and legendary manager Bobby Cox throughout the weekend.
Former Braves say the 71-year-old Cox, who retired after the 2010 season, is known for remembering the faces of those who played for him or coached with him. He also knew in advance that Sullivan would not be coming.
He told the paper that he asked Greg McMichael who the man was, and the former reliever told him it was Sullivan.
"I said, ‘That’s not John Sullivan. I think you’ve been had,’" Cox recalled.
The impostor reportedly flew to the event at the expense of the Braves, who also paid for his lodging and meals while he took part in an alumni softball game at Turner Field and even signed autographs for fans.
Former reliever Jose Alvarez said he also saw the man last summer at a ceremony to retire Cox’s No. 6.
Former pitcher Andy Ashby said the man finally admitted he was not John Sullivan while out for drinks Saturday night, then disappeared.
"He kept us laughing the whole time," said former pitcher Craig Skok. "You’ve got to hand it to him. He almost pulled it off."
The Braves have so far not pursued the matter with authorities, according to the report.
The real John Sullivan, who is 71 and lives in Danville, New York, was amused by the scam, saying, "That’s pretty funny. My wife will get a kick out of that."
Sullivan had a brief major league career as a catcher in the 1960s, later serving as a coach under Cox with the Braves and Blue Jays.