The middle-age man, who claimed to be former player John Sullivan, swung his bat remarkably slow during the alumni softball game during last weekend’s Braves reunion in Atlanta.
Former Braves pitcher Andy Ashby remarked, “Dude, you’ve really gone downhill fast.”
“We figured he must’ve had some health problems,” said former Braves reliever Jose Alvarez, who estimated the man’s bat speed at “no more than 30 mph.”
The mystery man, wearing No. 8, was never a Brave, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. But that didn’t stop him from signing autographs for fans or attending a luncheon to honor John Smoltz, whose number was being retired.
Former Braves manager Bobby Cox eventually asked Greg McMichael, the retired Braves reliever who now serves as the team’s liaison to alumni, who the man was. John Sullivan, came the reply.
“I said, ‘That’s not John Sullivan. I think you’ve been had,’” Cox said.
When asked when he played for the Braves, the man responded, “1986 or 1987, I’m not sure,” Alvarez recalls.
The man was gone by Sunday morning after being confronted by former players.
The real John Sullivan, of Dansville, N.Y., said his wife would get a kick out of hearing the story, which was first reported by the Journal-Constitution.
“I go to coffee with a group of ladies and I took the article with me and they all got enjoyment out of it,” Sullivan’s wife, Betsy, told The Associated Press.