“Natural” Woman Ruth Ann Steinhagen Dies
Obsessed fan who inspired hit movie passes away in obscurity
In 1949, few (baseball) fans had not heard of the name of Ruth Ann Steinhagen, who successfully lured Phillies first baseman Eddie Waitkus into a hotel room and shot him in the chest, nearly killing him. Today, word of Steinhagen’s death reaches the press three months later.It was one of the most gruesome and fascinating stories of the time.
It was also turned into a book and then into the commercially and critically successful movie “The Natural” but, despite all the attention, Steinhagen managed to slip into obscurity.
Steinhagen passed away in December, the Major League Baseball official website confirms.
She was 83 years old and had done such a wonderful job at making herself invisible that not even the coroners, who had seen the film and knew her face from back in the day, were able to recognize her.
The cause of death is listed as natural.