Baseball's Natural: The Story of Eddie Waitkus

By John Theodore | Go to book overview

8
Clearwater Beach

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.

-47-

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Baseball's Natural: The Story of Eddie Waitkus
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations xiii
  • Foreword xv
  • Acknowledgments xxi
  • Introduction xxiii
  • Major League Career Statistics for Eddie Waitkus xxv
  • Baseball's Natural *
  • 1 - Room 1297 A 1
  • 2 - Building a Dream 6
  • 3 - A Sealed Fate 12
  • 4 - A Swift Judgement Day 16
  • 5 - East Cambridge and Beyond 20
  • 6 - Chicago to Philadelphia 31
  • 7 - Baseball Annies 41
  • 8 - Clearwater Beach 47
  • 9 - Comeback 55
  • 10 - Kankakee State Hospital 61
  • 11 - All the Game's Wild Glory 66
  • 12 - Hero's Journey 83
  • 13 - In the Shadows 89
  • 14 - No Sentiment in Baseball 95
  • 15 - A Quiet Existence 105
  • 16 - Hidden Enemy 115
  • 17 - The Pleasure of Your Own 122
  • 18 - Lost Hero 131
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