- Ruth Ann Steinhagen, the Chicago woman who shot an ex-Cubs player in 1949 and inspired 'The Natural' story, dies at 83
The Chicago woman whose near-fatal 1949 shooting of former Cubs first baseman Eddie Waitkus inspired the book and movie "The Natural" died with the same anonymity with which she lived for more than half a century.
Ruth has a place in Chicago crime history because of the good old-fashioned moxie she used to carry out her plan — to kill Eddie Waitkus," Theodore said via email Thursday. "Here's a 19-year-old girl, living by herself in a tiny apartment on Lincoln Avenue, in 1949. She builds an Eddie Waitkus shrine in her apartment: photos, newspaper clippings, 50 ticket stubs, scorecards. She knows he's from Boston so she develops a craving for baked beans. ... He's Lithuanian, so she teaches herself the language and listens to Lithuanian radio programs."
It all came to a head June 14, 1949, when the Phillies were in town to play the Cubs. Steinhagen, then a typist for the Continental Casualty insurance company in the Loop, attended the game that day. After the game, she sent Waitkus an unsigned note summoning him to a 12th-floor room in the now-demolished Edgewater Beach Hotel, where the Phillies were staying. When Waitkus arrived at 11:30 p.m., Steinhagen told Waitkus from behind the door, "I have a surprise for you," and then used a .22-caliber rifle that she had purchased at a pawnshop to shoot him just below the heart.
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013 ... ie-waitkus
PS. Waitkus recovered relatively quickly playing the next season and for the Phillies five more years.