Sitting up in his hospital bed, the now honorary member of the 1949 National League All Star team groaned as he listened to the radio broadcast from Ebbets Field.
“Something always happens to the Nationals in these games, ” Eddie Waitkus told a visitor. “They always pull something you won't do in high school. ”
Waitkus, who was leading in voting for first base when he was shot, was named to an honorary position by National League manager Billy Southworth. The game, which the Americans won 11—7 to take a commanding 12-4 lead in All Star victories, was a comedy of errors for Waitkus's team. The Nationals made five errors, more than any other All Star team. A United Press report of the game asked: “Would it had been different if Eddie was there?”
In the opening inning, Cardinals rookie Eddie Kazak threw wildly to the Giants' Johnny Mize at first. The ball bounced out of Mize's glove, and that miscue eventually led to four unearned runs.
“The error was charged to Kazak but the consensus among the seasoned observers who saw this 16th annual classic was that any good first base sacker—and particularly Waitkus, of the Phils—would have had the ball in his apple-hand, ” the U. P. reported.
By the time of the All Star game, Waitkus's physical condition was steadily improving, and one week before he was transferred across town to Billings Hospital on Chicago's South Side, Waitkus felt strong enough to talk to the entire Phillies squad—twenty-seven players and coaches—via telephone.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Baseball's Natural: The Story of Eddie Waitkus. Contributors: John Theodore - Author. Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press. Place of publication: Carbondale, IL. Publication year: 2002. Page number: 47.
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