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©AP/ Ruth Ann Steinhagen
© AP/ Ruth Ann Steinhagen
Obsessed fan who shot player, inspired movie, dies
By DON BABWIN, Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — A woman whose shooting of a former Cubs baseball player in 1949 inspired a book and the movie "The Natural" has died.

Find: More on the Eddie Waitkus shooting

Ruth Ann Steinhagen died of natural causes at 83 in late December in Chicago. She had lived more than half a century in obscurity. Her passing was not noticed by the media until three months later.

But in 1949, she made headlines around the country. On June 14 of that year, she lured major league baseball player Eddie Waitkus into a hotel room with a note, then shot him, nearly killing him.

She was declared insane and spent about 2 1/2 years in a mental hospital before she was freed. She quietly lived the rest of her life in Chicago.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Mar 17, 2013 3:14PM

Nice racket, only 2 and a half years.  I think the rule should be on the phony insane get the same amount of years that you would have gotten, just in a funny farm.


So if this woman would have gotten 20 years for almost killing this guy, give her 20 years in a nuthouse.


And if you would have gotten the death penalty for a murder, but you claim insanity, you get life in an asylum with no possibility of parole.

Mar 17, 2013 3:53PM
The movie was a great piece of work and I'm glad it was made....its unfortunate that it was actually inspired by true life events.  Insanity was probably her only defense and was probably the truth of it. Remember that this happened in a very different time.... ask anyone of age! It was in fact a different world and I for one certainly wish that the world today still had the moral qualities and family centered society that flourished back then......There is no doubt in my mind that she lived out the rest of her life dealing with the terrible thing she did, and could not take back or correct. It is a terrible thing when a catastrophic event happens to you early in life, be it caused by yourself or not. It haunts you forever and never does go away. They say time heals, but what time does is wears the sharp edges down to allow most of us to somehow deal with the past. She paid her debt to society as the court saw fit.... I'd imagine she did her time...I'm sure she did.....
Mar 18, 2013 1:58AM
As Sheldon (Big Bang Theory) Cooper's mailman would say, "Bitches be crazy."
Mar 18, 2013 3:09AM
I don't see how people could see her as anything other than insane. She lured a man who she had never met before, into a hotel room for the sole purpose of shooting him. It wasn't some case of a jealous lover striking out in revenge or any other thing like that, but a sick woman who had it in her mind that she had to shoot this man. Why she did what she did obviously doesn't make sense to us, but in her sick mind it did for her. I personally couldn't see locking her up in a real prison for the rst of her life for doing something she didn't even know was wrong. I'll admit, 2.5 years does seem a little light of a sentence but that's the whole point, she wasn't supposed to be sentenced, she was ordered to get mental help. And if it only took 2.5 years to get healthy again, so be it. It obviously worked because we never heard another peep from her for the next 61 1/2 years...
Mar 18, 2013 1:45AM
When you're a Major League baseball player, never get out of the car. Never get out of the freakin' car!
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