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Circa 1940 Kansas City Monarchs Trainer's Suitcase - Satchel Paige's Personal Medicine Cabinet!
Starting Bid - $2,500, Sold For - $4,800
Offered here is one of the most interesting and unique Negro League items we have ever seen. This brown-leather bag, in the form of a small suitcase, belonged to Frank Floyd, who was the team trainer for the Kansas City Monarchs. While Floyd attended to the ailments of all of the Monarchs' players, he was first and foremost Satchel Paige's personal trainer. It was said that wherever Paige went, Floyd followed, usually with this bag in hand. The bag, which is stenciled "K. C. Monarchs" in black on the lid, contains four glass vials, six metal cups (various sizes), a metal container, a metal shaker featuring an engraved image of a generic Kansas City Monarchs player on the front, and a long mixing spoon held firmly in place by straps on the interior lid. All of the components fit snugly into the prefabricated compartments created for them. It was with the materials here that Floyd mixed up his many medicinal concoctions to soothe Paige's gastric afflictions.
This bag was actually introduced to the collecting community many years ago in an article appearing in the May/June 1996 issue of The Vintage & Classic Baseball Collector magazine. In the article, our consignor shares the discovery of this piece as well as its subsequent authentication by noted Negro League scholar Larry Lester. In summary, our consignor found this bag at a local antique show, and contacted Lester, who is also cofounder of the Negro League Museum, to obtain further information about it. Lester's reply letter was so informative that we are including it here in full:
Hello Jim, just talked with some former Kansas City Monarchs who confirmed my original theory about the suitcase. The suitcase belonged to Jewbaby Floyd, Kansas City Monarch trainer. He was really Satchel Paige's personal trainer and would mix up solutions for Satchel's temperamental stomach. I wrote an article a few years ago about the celebrated Josh vs. Satch matchup of 1942. A paragraph taken from that article will give you the gist of your wonderful piece of baseball Americana. In Buck O'Neil's words: "Jewbaby Floyd was our trainer and he traveled all over the country with Satch. Wherever Satch would go, Jewbaby would follow. Jewbaby was like our team doctor. So after Satchel walked those guys, Jewbaby in his white doctor's coat and his black medicine bag marched out to the mound. Satchel had always had trouble with his stomach. Jewbaby opened his bag and mixed up some concoction, I imagine Alka Seltzer or something, in a cup and shook it up. Now mind you, this is happening right there on the mound. Now everybody in the stands knows what's happening. Satchel had walked these two men and now the people are standing, some 15,000 people. He took the cup from Jewbaby and drunk it down, right there on the mound, and gives the cup back to Jewbaby. He stretches out and gives out a loud belch that echoes throughout the ball park. So Jewbaby goes off the mound and now Satch is ready to pitch to Josh." I'll trade the rest of the story for the suitcase. Just kidding! If you ever want to sell it. . . Have a great day and keep me in mind.
The bag has remained in our consignor's possession since that time and has never before been offered at public auction. While all Negro League memorabilia is exceedingly rare, a piece such as this, which directly relates to Satchel Paige's legendary career, is truly a remarkable find. This is without question one of the most unusual Negro League items extant and one that would be the main conversation piece for any collection in which it resides. The suitcase (16 x 8 x 4 inches) displays moderate-to-heavy wear commensurate with its former use. The leather carrying handle is detached at one end, and an interior leather strap that attached at two ends of the interior lid is completely detached, but present. The interior components are all in Excellent condition. SOLD FOR $4,800
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