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Eddie Waitkus

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Categories : People, Sports

Eddie Waitkus was a professional baseball player in the 1940s and 1950s who partially inspired the character of Roy Hobbs in the 1952 book and 1984 film The Natural. Waitkus was a World War II veteran who became a star first baseman for the Chicago Cubs before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1949. Similar to the storyline of The Natural, an obsessed female fan (Ruth Ann Steinhagen) shot Waitkus in the chest with a rifle. He nearly died before the bullet was removed. Like the Roy Hobbs character, Waitkus returned to play baseball, but was plagued by post-traumatic stress related to the shooting. Steinhagen was committed to a mental institution.

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