On this date in 2007, former Mississippi Braves catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, on his 22nd birthday, makes his major league debut for Atlanta and sets an offbeat record. Longest last name. His 14-letter surname supplants a bunch of other major leaguers who had 13 letters. “Salty,” a big switch-hitter who was the 36th overall pick by Atlanta in the 2003 draft, passed through Pearl as a highly rated prospect in 2006 and ’07. He played in the big leagues from 2007-18, won a ring with the 2013 Boston Red Sox and hit .232 with 110 homers overall. On August 22, 2007, a few weeks after being traded from the Braves to Texas, Saltalamacchia had two home runs and seven RBIs in the Rangers’ historic 30–3 rout of Baltimore.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s 14-letter surname was the longest in MLB history. He also had a few distinguishing moments on the field. “Salty” was Atlanta’s No. 1 prospect when he arrived in Double-A Mississippi in 2006, and though the switch-hitting catcher didn’t really live up to that heady billing, he did play parts of 12 seasons in the majors and won a World Series ring. He announced his retirement on Monday. He batted .232 with 110 home runs and 381 RBIs for seven different clubs. He hit 25 homers for Boston in 2012 and drove in 65 runs for the Red Sox the next year, helping them win the championship. With the M-Braves in 2006, Saltalamacchia batted .230 with nine homers. He returned in 2007 and hit .302 with six bombs in 22 games before being called to the big leagues. … Former M-Braves star Ronald Acuna, the 2018 National League rookie of the year with the Braves, was selected in a fan vote to appear on card No. 1 in Topps’ 2019 basic set. Other recent recipients of this honor include Mike Trout, Aaron Judge and Kris Bryant, each of whom was on the ballot for 2019, along with Mookie Betts and Bryce Harper. Acuna, who homered in his first at-bat for the M-Braves in 2017, was honored with a Bobblehead Night at Trustmark Park last summer. … Twenty-four of the 40 players on Atlanta’s current roster are M-Braves alums, and 10 of the 20 non-roster invitees to spring camp played in Pearl the last couple years. Former DeSoto Central standout Austin Riley – one of eight Top 100 prospects (by mlb.com) in Atlanta’s system – received a non-roster invite for the second straight year. He spent parts of 2017 and ’18 in Pearl.