|Born||in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA|
|Died||in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, USA|
|Birth Name||Edward Stephen Waitkus|
|Height||6' (1.83 m)|
Mini Bio (1)
Eddie Waitkus is the baseball player who inspired the novel "The Natural" by Bernard Malamud, which was made into the movie The Natural (1984), starring Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs. Waitkus was a top defensive first baseman and left-handed line-drive hitter. He was one of the toughest men in the league to strike-out. He spent 11 years wearing a major league uniform. Although his numbers were not Hall of Fame numbers he did have a lifetime batting average of .285.
He was shot by Ruth Ann Steinhagen on June 14, 1949. Waitkus was taken to Illinois Masonic Hospital with a bullet in his chest. The bullet had punctured his lung and lodged next to his spine and was near his heart. He was given two transfusions, but surgeons were afraid to remove the bullet because of its location. As it turned out, Waitkus had to have four operations before he was able to go to Clearwater, Florida for rehabilitation. Upon his return to baseball in 1950, Waitkus worked hard as the Phillies' leadoff hitter, helping them win the National League pennant. He hit 284 and scored 102 runs while playing in 154 games. According to family and friends of Eddie Waitkus, he was never the same after the shooting. It cost him an All-Star spot, and he had missed another season. His outgoing and friendly nature was gone. It was replaced with a man who was withdrawn and just generally suspicious of people. He went through some tough times after baseball, including going into treatment for alcoholism. In the end he was working at Ted Williams' baseball camp in the summer and basically collected unemployment during the winter. He entered a Boston Veterans Administration Hospital in the summer of 1972, and it was there that he died of cancer on September 15, 1972, eleven days after his 53rd birthday.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Holman