Steinhagen shot former Cub to relieve pressure in mind
“The Natural” stalker 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.
The 19-year-old's crime, which put a spotlight on stalking crimes, nearly killed Waitkus, 29, and temporarily sidetracked his career. The incident also helped to draw attention to "baseball Annies" – young, hero-worshipping groupies who would pursue major league ballplayers, often relentlessly.
However, from the time that Ruth Ann Steinhagen left Kankakee State Hospital in 1952 after undergoing nearly 3 years of psychiatric treatment, she disappeared into near obscurity – so much so that one of her final next-door neighbors said he lived there for more than 15 years before learning her history.
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