Thursday, September 18, 2008

Eddie Waitkus: The Real Roy Hobbs

The 1984 movie “The Natural” with Robert Redford is one of the better baseball movies made. It is based on Bernard Malamud’s offbeat novel of the same name when. 38-year-old Roy Hobbs breaks into baseball as a rookie with a passion, hits gigantic home runs, and transforms a last place team into a winner. The story was inspirited by the shooting of Eddie Waitkus, a 29-year-old baseball player for the Philadelphia Phillies, when a deranged woman invited him into her hotel room for the purpose of murder.

Eddie, however, was the second major league baseball player ever to be shot by a fan as you may remember a recent Chatter from the Dugout column that described on how Billy Jurges, a shortstop for the Chicago Cubs, was shot by a young lady who wanted more than just a casual companionship. While Jurges knew his assailant, Waitkus was shot by an unknown stalker who for several years had become overly infatuated with him from afar. Coincidentally Waitkus and Jurges were infielders, were either Chicago Cubs or had played with the Cubs, the two shootings occurred in Chicago hotels, and they both survived to play again.

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