The Waitkus shooting put a national spotlight on the huge number of teenage girls throughout major league cities who spent much of their summers chasing their baseball heroes. A Time magazine reporter who interviewed Waitkus while he was still in the hospital wrote: “He sat up in bed and tolerantly described Ruth as a 'Baseball Annie, ' one of an army of heroworshiping teen-age girls who follow players around. ” The press quickly picked up on Waitkus's description of Steinhagen as a “Baseball Annie” and used it in headlines throughout the country. Teenage girls have always followed baseball players around, and throughout history the athletes have always had their own special names for these girls, including “Baseball Sadie” and “Chicago Shirley. ” Steinhagen, however, was vastly different from these girls who congregated outside the clubhouse doors. If she had actually made contact with Waitkus, either by directly asking him for his autograph or merely talking with him, one psychiatrist theorized, she would not have gone through with the shooting. Instead, she quietly allowed her wild dream to become a reality, changing her life and Waitkus's forever.
Writing for the Sporting News in May 1950, Philadelphia baseball reporter Stan Baumgartner attempted to profile these young, female fans. “The modern 'Baseball Sadie, '” wrote Baumgartner, “is much more dangerous, bold, sex-conscious than her prototype of 20 or 30 years ago. Many come from the 'best' of families. They have good educations, dress in the latest fashions, make up conservatively, and can take their place in any gathering.
“They form fan clubs, have meetings and ask their favorites to attend. Their loyalty sometimes reaches a dangerous stage. They go after their man