Baseball's Natural: The Story of Eddie Waitkus

By John Theodore | Go to book overview

13
In the Shadows

With the 1952 baseball season just two days old, Ruth Ann Steinhagen, her parents, and her attorney posed for news photographers outside Chicago's Cook County Criminal Court building. Her stay in the state mental hospital over, Steinhagen appeared poised and happy; she presented a polished and tailored look. Conservatively dressed in a full length dress, high-heel pumps, and a long swing-coat, Steinhagen held her parents' arms and smiled. She had survived her confinement, would escape further imprisonment, and was free to begin a new life.

Steinhagen had spent thirty-three months in the Kankakee State Hospital and, according to Dr. Ernest Klein, the hospital's superintendent, had responded “favorably” to electric shock treatment. Shortly before her release, she told the Chicago Herald American:“Since the night I lured Waitkus to my room at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in order to shoot him, I have made the world's longest journey. I have come back to sanity from the fogshrouded world where I groped my way. There never will be any words to tell how grateful I am. I am grateful to Eddie Waitkus, who never showed the least wish to be revenged on me for my crazy attempt to kill him. I no longer have any desire to see him or write to him. But a few days later, after hospital officials declared her sane and discharged her, she said, “I intend to write Waitkus to tell him he has nothing to fear, that the shooting was the act of a sick girl and is now a forgotten chapter in my life. I want his mind to be at ease.

Waitkus said he never received any correspondence from Steinhagen. However, he admitted to his close friend Russ Meyer that he was concerned

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