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Stalker Who Inspired 'The Natural' Dies; Lived Real Life In Obscurity

News & Features Mark Memmott · ·
Ruth Ann Steinhagen, then-19, in the Cook County Jail after she shot Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Eddie Waitkus in 1949. On the table: a photo of Waitkus taken in the hospital where he was recovering from his bullet wound. The story of his shooting was the inspiration for Bernard Malamud's novel The Natural. Steinhagen died this past December.