Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Death of Ruth Ann Steinhagen in 2012-- Part 1: "Now You're Going to Die"

Ruth Ann Steinhagen was a 19-year-old typist for an insurance agency.  She had planned to stab Eddie Waitkus, but he came in quickly and sat down.  She went to the closet and got a .22 rifle.

She told him, "I have a surprise for you."  She trained the gun on him and told him to stand up and move to the window.  "For two years you've been bothering me, and now you're going to die."

Then she shot him.

She was arrested and charged with assault with intent to murder.

Less than three weeks afterwards, a judge declared her insane and committed her to a psychiatric hospital where she spend three years and was released.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Death of Eddie Waitkus' Shooter, Ruth Ann Steinhagen-- Part 1: Planning the Trap

From the March 23, 2013, New York  Times  "Ruth Ann Steinhagen Is Dead at 83; Shot a Ballplayer" by Bruce Weber.

On June 14, 1949, a huge tip back then of $5 was given to a bellhop at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago to deliver a note to another guest.  Even though the two people had never met, the note said that she needed to see him right away.  She called herself Ruth Anne Burus.

She then ordered two whiskey sours and a daiquiri from room service and sipped them while waiting for the guest to arrive.  Eddie Waitkus received the note and knocked on her door at 11 p.m..  She told him that she had already gone to bed and needed to dress and asked if he'd come back in a half hour.

Only, her name was Ruth Ann Steinhagen and she was planning on killing Eddie Waitkus.

And They Had Never Met.  --DaCoot

So, How'd the Eddie WaitkusTrade Go for the Cubs

From Baseball Almanac.

One thing about the Chicago Cubs and that on occasion, they  have made some bad trades.  I got to wondering whether the Eddie Waitkus and Hank Borowy trade to the Phillies for Monk Dubiel and Dutch Leonard was a good one or not.

All players were with the teams they were traded to for at least two years, so here are the stats.

The other three players were pitchers.

Eddie Waitkus   1949--  .306  // 1950--   .284
Hank Borowy   1949--  12-12  Record,  .4.19 ERA  //  1950--  0-0 record,  5.68 ERA.  Traded to Pittsburgh Pirates.

From the Phillies to the Cubs

Monk Dubiel  1949  6-9 record, 4.14 ERA  //   1950--  6-10,   4.16 ERA
Dutch Leonard:   1949--  7-16 record, 4.15 ERA   //   1950--  5-1 record,  3.77  ERA

I'd have to say, because of Waitkus, the Phillies got the better trade.

However, As Far As Nicknames Are Concerned, I'd Say the Cubs Did Better.  --Cooter

Monday, July 17, 2017

Eddie Waitkus' Major League Stats

Born September 4, 1919 in Massachusetts.  Died September 16, 1972.

Lifetime .285 Batting Average and 24 home runs, so not likely to hit one to blow up those lights like in "The Natural."

His rookie year was in 1941 with the Chicago Cubs when he played in 12 games at the end of the season.

From 1942-1945, he was in military service in World War II.

In 1946 he played in 113 games with 441 at bats, 55 RBIs, 4 Home runs and batted .304.  The next two years with the Cubs, he batted .292 and .295.  In 1949, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies.  In his time there he hit .306 (the year he was shot), .284, .257, .289 and .291.

And You Thought You Would Have to Worry About A Beanball.  --CootNat

Friday, July 14, 2017

MLB's Eddie Waitkus, Shot By His Stalker in 1949-- Part 3: Was Basis of the Book "The Natural"

Eddie Waitkus returned to the baseball diamond that same year, on August 19, 1949, and finished the season with a .306 batting average.  He was the leadoff hitter for the Phillies' "Whiz Kids" that won the 1950  National league Pennant.  He led the team with 102 runs scored.

Author Bernard Malamud was not a big baseball fan, but he used basic elements of Waitkus' story and other baseball legends (notably Chicago White Sox's Shoeless Joe Jackson for his 1952 book "The Natural."  In 1984, it was made into a movie starring Robert Redford and Glenn Close.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Eddie Waitkus, Philadelphia Phillies, Shot in 1949-- Shot At Chicago's Edgewater Beach Hotel

Eddie Waitkus quickly became a popular media figure.  He was well-educated and could speak fluently in Lithuanian, Polish, German and French.

The ladies especially loved him.  One of them, Ruth Ann Steinhagen, became an obsessed fan who shot him at Chicago's Edgewater Beach Hotel on June 14, 1949, in what became one of the earliest recognized cases of criminal stalking.

She had been infatuated with him while he was with the Cubs, but got to see him during all home games.  But now that he was with the Phillies, that was a rare instance.  So, while he was in town, she checked into the Edgewater under the name of one of Eddie Waitkus' former classmates.  She sent word to him that they needed to meet.

When he arrived at the room, she shot him with a .22 caliber rifle, just missing his heart.  She immediately called the front desk to tell them there had been a shooting.  When help arrived, they found her cradling his head in her lap.

Eddie Waitkus nearly died several times on the operating table before the bullet was removed.

Steinhagen was never tried but was in a mental institution for a short time.


Eddie Waitkus, Former Cubs Player Shot in 1949-- Part 1: "The Natural"

From Wikipedia.

In the last post, I mentioned that along with Billy Jurges being shot by a jilted lover in 1932, another former Cub by the name of Eddie Waitkus, was shot by a woman in 1949 while playing for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Born September 4, 1919 in Massachusetts.  Died September 16, 1972 in Massachusetts.

Played first base for eleven years:  Cubs and Phillies in the National League and the Orioles in the American League.  He was a member of the National League All Star team in 1948 and 1949.

As a rookie, he was known as "The Natural" for his baseball abilities.  (Sound familiar?)  He played a few games with the Cubs at the end of the 1941 season, but then served in the military during World War II, taking part in the battles in the Philippines.  During that time he was awarded four Bronze Stars.

Returning to baseball in 1946, he quickly became a star for the Chicago Cubs.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Billy Jurges, Played With a Great Cubs Infield

Born May 9, 1908.  Died March 3, 1997 in Clearwater, Florida.

Known as a light hitter and good fielder.  Right handed.  In 1932 anchored an infield of Stan Hack (3rd), Billy Herman (2nd) and Charlie Grimm and Phil Cavarretta (1st).  Recovered from wound in 1932 and helped the Cubs win the National league pennant.

Played with the New York Giants but missed 80 games in 1940 after being hit in the head by a pitched ball.

Later coached under Charlie Grimm and then held managerial jobs with several minor league teams.

I also found out another Chicago Cub player named Eddie Waitkus was shot i n 1949 (but playing with the Philadelphia Phillies at the time).


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Billy Jurges' Stats

Since I'd never heard of Billy Jurges before, I decided to find out something about him.

From Baseball Almanac.

In 1932, the year he was shot, these are Jurges' stats:

It was his second year in the pros and second with the Cubs.

115 games, 396 ABs, 40 runs, 100 hits, 24 doubles, 3 triples, 2 home runs.52 RBIs and batted .253.

He was with the Cibs from 1921-1938, the New York Giants 1939-1945, and finished his career back with the Cubs 1946-1947.

Had a career .258 batting average, 721 runs, 43 home runs and 656 RBIs..  His best year was 1937 with the Cubs when he batted .298 with 114 hits.

And, He Led the League in Getting Shot in 1932.  --DaDuckNextTime

Monday, July 10, 2017

Cubs Shortstop Billly Jurges Shot 85 Years Ago-- Part 3: Girlfriend Also Dated Leo Durocher and Al Lopez

The story of Billy's shooting became national headlines.  Newspaper photographers and reporters burst into Violet Popovich Valli's hospital room and daily reports of "the chestnut-haired divorcee" and the dark-haired chorus girl" filled the papers.

But nothing ever happened with her case.  Jurgess refused to press charges.

He rejoined the Cubs less than a month later and the '32 Cubs went on to the World Series where they got swept by the Yankees.

Popovich later dated Leo Durocher and Al Lopez, who went on to become managers of the Cubs and White Sox respectively.  She later married former boxer Charley "The Duluth Dynamiter" Retzlaff in 1947.

If I were Durocher or Lopez, I would have been very, very careful.


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Cubs Shortstop Billy Jurges Shot 85 Years Ago-- Part 2" More Than a Lover's Spat

According to the Chicago Herald and Examiner article related, according to Jack Bales:  "Violet received a telegram on July 6, that intimated Jurges had been out with other women.  And a resident of the hotel overheard Violet telling a friend, 'If he denies this I'll forgive him, otherwise, I'll give him the works.':

She pounded on Jurges' door and confronted him with a .25 caliber gun.  As they were wrestling for the weapon, one shot ricocheted off Jurges' rib, another struck a finger on his left hand and the third traveled through Popovich's arm.

Was It Worth It?  --DaCootShot

Cubs Shortstop Billy Jurges Shot 85 Years Ago-- Part 1: Shot By His Lover

From the July 6, 2007, Chicago Tribune 'Shooting of Cub Billy Jurges' marks anniversary" by Phil Thompson.

Cubs history can be a bit bizarre, but July 6, 1932, it got just a bit stranger when Cubs shortstop  Billy Jurges was shot in his hotel room by a spurned lover.

Violet Popvich Valli shot him and the whole affair is the subject of an article by Jack Bales in "The Show Girl and the Shortstop:  The Strange Saga of Violet Popovich and Her Shooting of Cub Billy Jurges."

Most accounts say the problems started in New York when she pressed Jurges about their future.  During homestands, Jurges lived at the Hotel Carlos in Chicago, now an apartment complex on Sheffield Avenue.    Popovich stayed there on occasions.

--And, the Plot Thickens.  --CootCub

Thursday, July 6, 2017

DeKalb's Population at 9,482 in 1917

From the January 18, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"According to the estimates of the Washington census bureau which are just out there were 9,482 persons in DeKalb on the first day of July of last year.

"The census estimates is supposed to be pretty accurate as we feel that DeKalb is well along to the 10,000 class.  If we could fond some way to increase our population to get into the five figure class we would be a real metropolis."

DeKalb's 2010 population was 43,862, so guess they made the 10,000 with room to spare.


About a DeKalb Local Armory in 1917

From the May 31, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"Although the local DeKalb (Illinois) men who have been pushing the project have not given up, present indications are that the matter of the purchase of the armory building by the state of Illinois for the use of the local militia contingent will have to go over for  the present session of legislature."

Remember, we were on the eve of World War I for our country in May 1917.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Program for the Dead of Past Wars in 1917

From the May 31, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back.:

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"A Program will be given by Hattie Chesbro's eighth grade of the Haisch school at 9:30 o'clock at the Lucinda Avenue bridge over the Kishwaukee to commemorate the memory of the many dead in the past wars.  (DeKalb, Illinois)

"The program is always very appropriate and the public is invited to attend.  While a reading is given by Lola Maxwell, flowers will be scattered on the water and a salute to the flag given."

This, of course, would be Memorial Day/Decoration Day.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

History of the Fourth of July

From History site.

Also known as Independence Day or July 4th.  It has been a federal holiday since 1941, but its traditions go back to the 18th century and the American Revolution.

On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence and two days later delegates from thirteen colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson.

From 1776 to the present, July 4 has been celebrated as the birthday of American independence with festivals, fireworks, parades, coverts, family gatherings and barbecues.

Happy B-D, U.S.A.!!  --Cootstarsandstripes

DeKalb Woman's Club Deeds Annie's Woods to the City in 1917

From the May 3, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"This is an epochal day for the DeKalb Woman's Club.  After about five years of hard work and planning the big project of the club whereby its members bought and paid for the Annie's Woods, one of the prettiest places in DeKalb vicinity and a favorite recreation spot.

"This afternoon the board of the Woman's Club met with mayor P.N. Joslyn and Judge McEwen to deed over the woods to the city."

And, Annie's Woods is still there, right by the Kishwaukee River and the eastern edge of Northern Illinois University.

Thank You Ladies!!  We're Still Enjoying It!!  --DaCoot