March 19, 2013

Ruth Ann Steinhagen, who was forgotten and 83 when she died, was famous at the age of 19.

"The story began with what appeared to be just another young woman's crush on Eddie Waitkus, the Chicago Cubs' handsome first baseman."
"So complete was this crush that the teenager set a place for Waitkus, whom she'd never met, at the family dinner table. She turned her bedroom into a shrine to him, and put his photo under her pillow.

"After the 1948 season, Waitkus was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies — a fateful turn. "When he went to the Phillies, that's when she decided to kill him"...

"Steinhagen had her chance the next season, when the Phillies came to Chicago to play the Cubs at Wrigley Field. She checked into a room at the Edgewater Beach Hotel where he was staying and invited him to her room.

"'We're not acquainted, but I have something of importance to speak to you about,' she wrote in a note to him after a game at Wrigley on June 14, 1949.

"It worked. Waitkus arrived at her room. After he sat down, Steinhagen walked to a closet, said, 'I have a surprise for you,' then turned with the rifle she had hidden there and shot him in the chest."
In the movie "The Natural," Robert Redford played a character based on Waitkus, and  Barbara Hershey played the Steinhagen character.


Shouting Thomas said...

The greatest of all Cub loser stories in the great history of Cub losing.

The novel of "The Natural" is so different than the movie.

No happy ending in the novel.

Go Cubs! Let's play two!

JAL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JAL said...

Read the wiki articles on both The Natural and Waitkus as well. The Natural (movie) took great liberty with the original sad story.

I can see that Waitkus may have had PTSD from getting shot by Steinhagen -- but put it in context that he served in the Pacific during WWII (4 Bronze Stars) and had experienced the horrors of that. Then to almost die from a crazy young woman's obsession...

A bizarre, sad story -- but Waitkus worked for years helping young ball players after he retired. So he seemed to move on after having much of his life stolen by the crazy woman.

Shouting Thomas said...

The moral of the story...

If some hot young woman sends you a note offering you free pussy...

Well, what would you do?

Some times you get the honey
Some times you get the sting

From "Stuff Like That" by the Hot Mud Family.

Humperdink said...

There is just something about Cub fans. Can't put my finger on it.

It was reported that Steinhagen gave birth to son named Steve .... took the last name of Bartman in his teens.

edutcher said...

Restraining orders do not make you bullet-proof, either.

SJ said...

Interesting question:

would she have been confined to a mental institution using the rules in place in the 1970s or 1980s? Under the rules of the 1940s, she was confined.

Second question:

Have all sports men always had to deal with women wanting a sexual encounter, or some form of intimacy? (Even golfers get that attention in this generation...and there were indications that Waitkins and his fellow players weren't totally unfamiliar with such women...)

Humperdink said...

I went to a conference in Cleveland some years ago. I stayed in a swanky hotel ... not sure of the name.
As it turns out, the visiting NBA team was staying in the same hotel. Mid-morning, during a break from the conference, I went to the bar/restaurant area. The area was filled with beautiful women, lots of women. One by one, the players trickled in. I am sure this a one-of.

Mitchell the Bat said...

"I have a surprise for you."

Even with a sucking chest wound, I'm sure Mr. Waitkus still got a chuckle out of that one.

bgates said...

Did the article note which guns were banned after that incident?

SJ said...


after trolling Wiki, I discovered a reference to a "0.22 rifle".

Since this is from 1949, it was most likely not an assault rifle.

To pick on one specific rifle company, it could have been
Model 1903 semi-auto, or Model 1890 slide-action, or a Model 52 bolt action.