Former Braves all-stars come to Coolray

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Atlanta Braves alumni Dale Murphy, David Justice, Ryan Klesko and Javy Lopez will take part in an all-star weekend at Coolray Field on Saturday and Sunday. The former Braves greats will sign autographs and meet with fans as part of the Gwinnett Braves' weekend series with Charlotte.

The G-Braves return from an eight-game road trip to play the Knights at 7:05 p.m. Saturday and 5:05 p.m. Sunday.

"Since I've been here, we've talked about getting some of the big-name former Braves players into Gwinnett so fans can get an up-close chance to meet them," general manager North Johnson said. "(Sponsor) Springer Mountain Farms brought up a similar idea about bringing in a David Justice or Javy Lopez. The two ideas converged and we made it happen."

Justice and Lopez, both members of Atlanta's 1995 World Series championship squad, will be there Saturday. Justice will meet with fans holding Home Plate Club tickets from 6-6:30 p.m. Both he and Lopez will throw out ceremonial first pitches and then sign autographs on the Coolray Field main concourse from 7-8:30 p.m.

Klesko, also of the '95 team, and Murphy, the 1982 and 1983 National League MVP while with the Braves, will appear on Sunday. Murphy will take part in a special meet and greet session with fans holding Home Plate Club tickets from 4-4:30 p.m. He and Klesko will throw out ceremonial first pitches and sign autographs on the main concourse from 5-6:30 p.m.

Johnson said all four players welcomed the chance to meet with fans at their former club's Triple A affiliate. It's a short trip for a couple of them. Lopez still lives in Gwinnett, not 20 minutes from the park, and Klesko is in Macon.

"With Dale Murphy, too, we were able to tie his appearance into a time when he's doing a lot of his Braves' broadcasts," Johnson said.

Autographs with all four players will be on a first-come, first-serve basis and are limited to one item per person.

"We expect this to be a really good weekend for us," Johnson said. "Fans can truly get close to these guys who were very much a part of the Braves family."