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Bobby Cox sniffs out impostor at alumni game

Former Braves manager Bobby Cox sniffed out an impostor on Sunday. (AP)It probably made for a heck of a story to tell around the Monday morning water cooler.

According to a piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, an unidentified man crashed the Atlanta Braves' annual alumni reunion over the weekend by using the name of John Sullivan, who coached in the organization more than 30 years ago.

The impostor might have got away with it, too, if it weren't for meddling managing legend Bobby Cox. Though no one else at the alumni game didn't think to question why the impostor wasn't very good at baseball any more, Cox was in a state of confusion.

The John Sullivan who served as a coach during Cox's first managerial stint in Atlanta in the early '80s, after all, is currently 71 years old and living in Dansville, N.Y.

Meanwhile, the mystery man signing autographs for fans was in his mid-50s.

Stranger still, at least one player remembers seeing Sullivan at Turner Field when Cox's number was retired last season. What in the name of Abe Froman was going on?

From the AJC:

Those present at alumni weekend told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution it appears the man received an invitation intended for former Braves bullpen coach John Sullivan, who spent two years in Atlanta before following Bobby Cox to Toronto in 1982.

"I knew he wasn't coming," said the longtime  Braves manager of his former coach.

Cox, who, according to Alvarez, never forgets those who played under him, said he was embarrassed he didn't know the mystery man ... Finally, he asked Greg McMichael, the retired Braves reliever who now serves as the team's liaison to alumni, "Who is this guy?" McMichael told him it was John Sullivan. "I said, 'That's not John Sullivan. I think you've been had,'" Cox told the AJC.

The Braves had no official comment about the incident for the paper and it's not clear whether or not they will pursue any legal action. (Are they embarrassed that they'd been had?) But the man's story started to unravel after he claimed to be a player instead of a coach, misidentified the location of a Braves minor-league team (Greensboro instead of Greenville) and couldn't say the exact year he had appeared in the majors. He later came clean on Saturday night while throwing back some drinks with real former players like Andy Ashby and hasn't been heard from since.

So was the guy's name also John Sullivan and was he just taking advantage of the soft and trustworthy nature of these major-league meetups to rub shoulders with his Braves heroes? It's a reasonable assumption given that it's a common name and that he wouldn't have been able to board a flight with different identification. But his jig is now up after running into Cox, the one guy with an institutional memory long enough to unmask a pretender in his presence.

So beware any regular schmoes with similar schemes and common names like "Brian Jordan" or "Biff Pocoroba" ... Bobby Cox is on to your little plan.

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