When Cars and Baseball Legends Collide
Members David and Evelyn Broxterman share their classic car story on Jones Garage with an added baseball twist.
By Evelyn Broxterman
As a high school student back in the 1970s, David Broxterman made a list of cars he wanted to own before he died. A “Bucket List” of dream cars, if you will. Most were milestone cars such as: 1956 Continental Mark II; 1951 Hudson Hornet; 1953 or 1954 Buick Skylark; 1957 or 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, etc. One of the cars listed was a 1955 Chrysler 300.
Common among kids those days, David also collected baseball cards. In fact, he packed his collection of cards he accumulated from the mid 1960s to 1977 in a box just before reporting for active duty for the Army in September 1977. His aunt and uncle in Cincinnati, Ohio kept his collections safe during his 24-year career with the Army.
One day in October 2003 in Reston, VA while attending one of his residencies for his PhD in Business, David ended his day with a scan of the latest car listings on the internet. Little did he know at the time that his two interests – cars and baseball – were about to collide in a pleasantly surprising way.
A 1955 Chrysler 300 was to be sold at auction in Halcottsville, NY. Unable to attend the auction due to his studies, David sent a proxy. The ’55 300 belonged to Collector Leonard Shultis and was kept in a three-story barn filled with cars. More than half of the cars in the barn had the trunks locked and the keys lost over the years. The auctioneer announced, “There could be a body or a million dollars in the trunk. Take your chances.” His proxy won the bid, and David was the new owner of the ’55 C300. The proxy delivered the car to David, and what he discovered the next day was the making of a dream.
David removed the rear seat of the car and broke the weld cage separating the passenger compartment from the trunk. He crawled into the trunk and was greeted by mouse nests, boxes and decades of dust and dirt. He popped the lock from the inside, opening the trunk for the first time in almost 40 years. Inside the luggage compartment was what you’d expect – an original dry rotted spare tire on a wire wheel, a gas can and a wooden soda crate with car parts stuck into the squares that usually held bottles. But then, inside a large plastic tarp, was a Schlitz Beer box of magazines and photos, 2 baseball bats, 2 baseball gloves, 6 baseballs, a stack of old newspapers and documents, and a brown leather satchel with the initials: “E. B. S.” in gold lettering.
Everything was pretty dusty. So, David took each piece out and cleaned them off as best he could. He noticed a pattern forming with the newspapers. They were all baseball papers and magazines with a few car magazines about the C300 mixed among them. He finally pried the satchel lock open, and inside was a treasure-trove of photos, documents, letters, and invoices including the original shipping document naming the Chrysler as an “MVP Car” for the New York Yankees and the original 1955 North Carolina title in the name of the first owner: ENOS BRADSHER SLAUGHTER. Some may remember him as “Country” Slaughter who played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1938 to 1954 (minus a 3-year break for WWII service), then to the New York Yankees 1954 and 1955; then to the Kansas City Athletics 1955 and 1956; then back to the Yankees until 1959. He spent his last month in baseball with the Milwaukee Braves in September and October of 1959 before retiring from baseball with a lifetime batting average of (coincidence?) “300.”
David, a doctoral student at the time and a well-versed researcher, began investigating this find by making contact with the Slaughter family, the Enos Slaughter museum in Roxboro, NC, living baseball players from Enos’ era and Chrysler Corporation officials. It was a letter from Robert Slaughter (Enos’ living 82-year-old brother in Roxboro, NC) that clinched it. David sent photos of the car and copies of some of the documents found in the satchel. Mr. Slaughter not only remembered the car, but admitted he had driven it several times himself. He stated in his letter to David that Enos used to drive it between games from NY to NC and all over.
Letters from baseball greats Clete Boyer and Johnny Sain re-confirmed the car belonged to Enos. Coupled with several personally noted items in the trunk, such as a 1946 St. Louis newspaper with Cardinals winning the series as the headline and signatures of most Cardinals like Stan Musial; Del Rice; Red Schoendienst; Joe Garigiola; Marty Marion….and others – autographed tobacco pouch “Yankee Girl” from the 1954 Cardinals; Autographed photo of Branch Rickey to Enos; Player-Signed “I.O.U.” baseball cards from the 1940’s and 50’s; Player-Signed dollar bills from the 40’s and 50’s; Notes from Sal Maglie (stating he could “sure use a car like the Chrysler” up there in NY), Stan Musial, Del Rice, Eddie Dyer and more; Enos’ personal diary from 1955 and many many photos, maps, used airplane and train tickets, Air Corps memorabilia from WWII; Enos’ brown fedora hat, etc. – so many small items that look as though they were simply tossed into the trunk as they came into Mr. Slaughter’s possession. Who knew Enos Slaughter was a pack rat?
The car runs great and has just over 102,000 miles on it now. It’s driven, not trailered. Of course, the car has been properly repainted – outside surfaces only! The interior is all original except for the carpet. (Tags found under the original carpet include a line supervisor’s inspection tag with the last 4 digits of the VIN and “MVP” stamped on it). The leather is old and weathered – but, Enos Slaughter sat on those seats! His DNA is in there! Along with other players and managers of the day that may have taken a ride with him or driven the car themselves: Stan “The Man” Musial; Clete Boyer; Cloyd Boyer; Johnny Sain; Yogi Berra; Phil Rizzuto; Warren Spahn; Casey Stengel and most likely – Mickey Mantle!
Jones Garage will be a monthly column by Kevin Jones, President of MIDFLORIDA and certified car guy to talk about his cars and automobilia and the cars of MIDFLORIDA’s members. In addition to his stories, we will feature a different member’s car and story each month. Thanks to members David and Evelyn Broxterman for submitting their story. Please email your car story with a picture of your car to Julie Townsend at jtownsend@MIDFLORIDA.com
A special prize will be awarded if we use your car in an issue of Jones Garage.