SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

March 18, 2013

Obsessed fan who shot player, inspired film dies

(Continued)

She checked into a room at the Edgewater Beach Hotel where he was staying and invited him to her room.

“We’re not acquainted, but I have something of importance to speak to you about,” she wrote in a note to him after a game at Wrigley on June 14, 1949.

It worked. Waitkus arrived at her room. After he sat down, Steinhagen walked to a closet, said, “I have a surprise for you,” then turned with the rifle she had hidden there and shot him in the chest. Theodore wrote that she then knelt by his side and held his hand on her lap. She told a psychiatrist afterward about how she had dreamed of killing him and found it strange that she was now “holding him in my arms.”

Newspapers devoured and trumpeted the lurid story of a 19-year-old baseball groupie, known in the parlance of the day as a “Baseball Annie.” Among the sensational and probably staged photos was one showing Steinhagen writing in her journal at a table in her jail cell with a framed photograph of Waitkus propped nearby.

A judge determined she was insane and committed her to a mental hospital. She was released three years later, after doctors determined she had regained her sanity.

Details about the rest of her life are sketchy. She lived with her sister in a house just a few miles from the hotel where she shot Waitkus. A neighbor told Theodore that Steinhagen said she worked in an office for 35 years but never revealed her employer. And she made an effort to conceal her privacy, often refusing to answer the phone or come to the door when Theodore knocked.

Chris Gentner, a neighbor who used to help the Steinhagen sisters with chores, said he only found out who she was 15 years after they began living nearby.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • 140721_SN_PBI_MARKETB_090 Thousands rally after 8 Market Basket execs are fired

    TEWKSBURY -- Valerie Edge has never been afraid for her job. Through the death of her father, a near-fatal crash involving her daughter, and her own lengthy illness, the five-year employee of the Epping, N.H., Market Basket said her bosses always tol

    July 22, 2014 4 Photos 1 Slideshow 4 Stories

  • 140721_SN_DLE_MARKETBASKET5 North Shore Market Basket workers, customers remain defiant

    MIDDLETON -- The Market Basket revolt continues, despite the firing of eight insurgent employees. Workers at the Middleton store on Monday were still making clear their position in favor of ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas, though in some cases with ca

    July 21, 2014 5 Photos 5 Stories

  • Lindsay Obama denies religious exemption urged by Gordon College president

    WENHAM — The letter that has caused so much controversy for Gordon College has gone unheeded by President Barack Obama.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo 7 Stories

  • Tobin Bridge toll booths are history BOSTON -- The next time you drive over the Tobin Bridge on Route 1 into Boston, you won't have to fumble for your wallet or root through your purse to pay the toll. On Monday, the state Department of Transportation replaced the toll booths on the upp

    July 22, 2014

  • 140715_SN_DLE_ABBOTTHALL1 Heard Around Town: For Seth Moulton, there's no place like home Candidate for congress in the Democratic Party and Marblehead homeboy Seth Moulton might have gotten a jolt when the Democratic Town Committee recently endorsed his opponent, incumbent Rep. John Tierney of Salem. The Marine Corps and Iraq veteran is

    July 22, 2014 4 Photos