02 May

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On this day in 2007, Jarrod Saltalamacchia set a major league record just by stepping up to the plate. The former Mississippi Braves star, making the jump from Double-A, debuted for Atlanta and set the mark for longest surname — 14 letters — in MLB history. (The record was “broken” in 2022 by a player with a double last name.) Saltalamacchia, also celebrating his 22nd birthday on May 2, 2007, was a pretty good player, sticking in the big leagues for 12 years, hitting 110 career homers and winning a World Series ring with Boston in 2013. “Salty,” a switch-hitting catcher with good defensive skills, arrived in Pearl in 2006 as Atlanta’s top prospect. After an unimpressive first tour of Double-A, he returned in 2007 and was batting .309 with six homers in 22 games when the Braves summoned him to Atlanta. He was traded to Texas in the Mark Teixeira deal that summer and would go on to play for seven different teams and wear eight different numbers during his career. … On the subject of former M-Braves catchers, there are three playing regularly in the big leagues, none for Atlanta. William Contreras, now with Milwaukee, is among the National League’s top hitters with a .345 average, five homers and 25 RBIs. Shea Langeliers, with Oakland, has six homers though he is hitting just .170. The well-traveled Christian Bethancourt, who shares catching duties in Miami with former Ole Miss star Nick Fortes, is hitting .028 in 15 games. … On the subject of catchers, Blue Mountain Christian’s Carson Gault went 3-for-4 with a double, a grand slam and six RBIs as the Toppers stunned top-seeded Faulkner (Ala.) 15-5 Wednesday in pool play at the SSAC Championship in Jackson, Tenn. Gault, from New Albany via East Mississippi Community College, is batting .367 with nine homers and 50 RBIs.