It's not often that one's choice of hosiery will give away their identity, but such was the case on Saturday when it became apparent that the man claiming to be former Atlanta Braves coach John Sullivan during John Smoltz's number retirement ceremony and Braves alumni weekend was an imposter.
The real John Sullivan appeared in 116 games in the 1960s with the Detroit Tigers, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. He later coached under Bobby Cox with the Braves from 1978-1981 before leaving with him for the Toronto Blue Jays. Sullivan stayed in Toronto under managers Jimy Williams and Cito Gaston.
"He started playing catch, and I thought 'Oh, this poor soul. this guy's shoulder is shot. He ended his career on a bad note or something,'" Simpson said. "And I now I know why he threw the way he threw, because it was awful."
The man pretending to be Sullivan was on Murphy's team in the game. Murphy said he didn't play in the field and hit 14th in the batting lineup, but nobody wanted to be "that guy" who didn't remember someone.
"I thought he was a sponsor or something like that. I did not think he was a ballplayer," Murphy said. "Everyone acted like they knew him because they didn't want to say, 'I don't remember you.'"
Former manager Bobby Cox was in the dugout about halfway through the game when he asked who was wearing no. 6. The reply was that it was John Sullivan, and thus commenced the Braves notifying the authorities as to the stolen identity.
To add even more insult to the story, the Braves paid for his flight and hotel stay. He also attended Cox's number retirement last year.
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