Obsessed Fan Who Shot Player, Inspired Movie, Dies

By: Don Babwin, Associated Press Email
By: Don Babwin, Associated Press Email

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

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.

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