Baseball's Natural: The Story of Eddie Waitkus

By John Theodore | Go to book overview

18
Lost Hero

The Ted Williams Camp allowed Waitkus to pass the baseball part of his life on to a new generation. Although he was away from those closest to him, his wife and children, he found a resurgence at the camp late in his life. “But his days were blending into each other, ” his daughter, Ronni, recalled. “He had a great loss of not regularly seeing my brother and me. He would write me from the camp, asking me to write. I know he was depressed, and I think he would always write his letters at night. He was getting a real sense that his life was shortening. ”

In the summer of 1972, life was catching up to Waitkus. The previous year, he had fractured his hip when he fell from the second story while installing storm windows at Belle Powers's home in Cambridge. Waitkus lost his balance, tumbled from a second-story ledge, and landed on his feet, severely jarring his hip. The injury healed slowly, and when he arrived at camp, he walked with a painful limp. His health deteriorated rapidly during that summer. The New England sun painted his face a healthy-looking tan, but it was nothing more than a facade. Waitkus was weary and had little energy, and his eyes were sunken; nearing his fifty-third year, he carried the look of an old man. Waitkus's persistent cough worsened and he had difficulty breathing at times. Although he had quit drinking, he still smoked daily. “His Benson and Hedges Menthol 100s never left his side, ” his son, Ted, remembered. “Dad was recuperating from a broken hip during his last year at the camp, and he walked with a pronounced limp. But there he was, cane and all, teaching kids how to hit. ”

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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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