A Cautionary Tale of Getting Traded to the Phillies: On Stalkers, Attempted Murder, and Eddie Waitkus

A Cautionary Tale of Getting Traded to the Phillies: On Stalkers, Attempted Murder, and Eddie Waitkus

Pretty much every baseball fan ever has seen Robert Redford play Roy Hobbs in The Natural. But how many fans know the real life story of the crazy stalker lady who attempted to murder a member of the 1949 Phillies who inspired the movie?

Her name was Ruth Ann Steinhagen and she died recently at the age of 83, according to an NPR blog post that tells the tale.

[Eddie Waitkus Baseball Reference]

The Associated Press recounts the story of Eddie Waitkus and Steinhagen:

"The story began with what appeared to be just another young woman's
crush on Eddie Waitkus, the Chicago Cubs' handsome first baseman. So
complete was this crush that the teenager set a place for Waitkus, whom
she'd never met, at the family dinner table. She turned her bedroom into
a shrine to him, and put his photo under her pillow.

"After
the 1948 season, Waitkus was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies — a
fateful turn. "When he went to the Phillies, that's when she decided to
kill him," [author John] Theodore said in an interview.

"Steinhagen
had her chance the next season, when the Phillies came to Chicago to
play the Cubs at Wrigley Field. She checked into a room at the Edgewater
Beach Hotel where he was staying and invited him to her room.

So she sent him the tried-and-true "you don't know me but I think we should meet in my hotel room" note and ended up shooting Waitkus in the chest after he showed. He survived and played a few more seasons in the bigs. She was found to be insane and spent years in a state hospital getting therapy.

The real life events of Waitkus and his stalker differ a bit from those of Roy Hobbs in the movie, but the moral of the story is always be weary of ladies from Chicago who want to woo you to their hotel room. Also, your shrine to a baseball player really is creepy.

Much like the Cubs, Steinhagen disappeared into obscurity.

>>Stalker Who Inspired 'The Natural' Dies; Lived Real Life In Obscurity [NPR]
>>Obsessed Fan Who Shot Player, Inspired Movie, Dies [AP]

Sixers-Bucks 5 things: Joel Embiid back to face the 'Greek Freak'

Sixers-Bucks 5 things: Joel Embiid back to face the 'Greek Freak'

Sixers at Bucks
3:30 p.m. - CSN/CSNPhilly.com/streaming live on the NBCSports App

The Sixers (12-26) look to get back in the win column when they face the Milwaukee Bucks (20-19) at the Bradley Center in a Martin Luther King Day matinee.

Let's take a closer look at Monday afternoon's matchup:

1. Back on the Embiid express
The Sixers have started to show flashes of coming together and finally turning the corner on their massive rebuild. However, they are nowhere near the point that they can remove the biggest piece of the puzzle and still expect to win games.

The Sixers found that out again on Saturday night, as they were pummeled during the second half of a 109-93 loss to the Washington Wizards with Joel Embiid sidelined for rest.

The team didn't want to use the rookie phenom's absence as an excuse, but it was clear his presence was missed.

“We didn’t have that extra oomph,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said after the loss. “Obviously, the omission of Joel Embiid clearly is impactful, but that’s the challenge. We just didn’t have it tonight.”

Embiid and his 19.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game will be back in the lineup against the Bucks.

2. Freak of nature
The Sixers won't be the only squad with a star in the making on the court Monday afternoon.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has shown plenty of potential since he was selected by the Bucks 15th overall in the 2013 draft (Anthony Bennett, who was recently released by the Brooklyn Nets, was taken No. 1 overall that year, for those of you keeping track at home). But the man known as "The Greek Freak" has taken his game to new heights this season.

Antetokounmpo is averaging 23.4 points on 53.5 percent shooting in addition to 8.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.8 steals per game this season - all career highs. He's also coming off a 33-point, eight-rebound and six-assist performance in the Bucks' 111-98 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.

With Antetokounmpo playing point guard full time now and the Bucks' starting five boasting players all above 6-foot-7, it's hard to determine how the Sixers will match up on defense. Whatever the plan is to slow down "The Greek Freak," it will have to be a total team effort.

3. Protect the paint
All of that size and athleticism for the Bucks is a big reason they attack the rim so much. Milwaukee is tied with Oklahoma City for the league lead in points in the paint with 50.6 per game.

The Sixers were dominated on the low block for 54 points by the Wizards on Saturday with Embiid out. For the season, they rank 14th in the league in points in the paint allowed at 42.3 a night.

One thing that might help the Sixers is their shot blocking. They swat 5.6 shots a game (sixth in the NBA), which could deter some of those romps to the rim by the Bucks.

4. Injuries
T.J. McConnell (right wrist), Ben Simmons (foot) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are out for the Sixers.

Khris Middleton (hamstring) is out for the Bucks.

5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost 12 of their last 14 games to the Bucks.

• Ersan Ilyasova spent the first seven seasons of his NBA career with the Bucks (see story on his return to Milwaukee). This will mark the fourth time he has faced his former team.

• Jabari Parker, selected No. 2 overall in the 2014 NBA draft right before Embiid, has emerged this season with 20.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.

Sixers' T.J. McConnell (sprained right wrist) out Monday vs. Bucks

Sixers' T.J. McConnell (sprained right wrist) out Monday vs. Bucks

The Sixers will get Joel Embiid back in the lineup when they meet the Bucks on Monday afternoon in Milwaukee, but they'll be without their starting point guard.

T.J. McConnell will miss Monday's game with a sprained right wrist suffered in Saturday night's loss to the Wizards in D.C., the Sixers announced Monday morning.

McConnell reportedly did not travel with the team to Milwaukee and is back home in Philadelphia.

The 24-year-old McConnell has been a presence this season for a Sixers team that desperately needed something from the point guard spot. In 38 games this season, McConnell has averaged 4.8 points, 5.8 points and 4.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists a night in an average of 22.3 minutes a game.

The highlight of McConnell's season, of course, came last week when he nailed the game-winning shot at the buzzer to give the Sixers a 98-97 victory over the Knicks.

Sergio Rodriguez is expected to start in McConnell's place Monday against the Bucks.