When it was a game.net


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Whenitwasagame.net themes and content are dedicated to the remembrance, celebration and preservation of our baseball heritage.
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Unnatural
disaster
threatens
baseball

We the fans, the true “owners” of baseball, must hold the commissioner, the team owners, the players and their union accountable.
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Power surge
The '50s was the decade of power and the numbers put up by the untainted athletes were impressive.
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INSIDE:

CLUBHOUSE
CRONICLES

Jimmy Palermo, during a historic 7-day span in May, 1939, saw the meteoric rise of Williams and tragic decline of Gehrig.

THE GAME'S
GOLDEN ERA

An exclusive WIWAG ongoing feature.


MEMORIES
The field seemed vast to a 7-year old who had looked forward to this day for two months.

BREAKING THE COLOR LINE
The year marks the 60th anniversary of the first major league tryout for black players.

SPECIAL COLOR
LINE TIMELINE

Bud Fowler is the first know black players on an integrated team.

BOOMING BATS
of the '50s

Qualify as Grade A10.


AMERICA'S ORIGINAL
SPORTS BAR
First sports bar featured 12-inch Farnsworth TV.

BASEBALL
HISTORIANS

Two unsuspecting vintage baseball fans rediscover a "National Treasure."
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EDDIE WAITKUS, whose baseball career and life were the inspiration for the book The Natural, actually used this Louisville Slugger (model C31) with barrel signature stamp rather than the fictional "Wonder Boy."































PHILLIE FIRST BASEMAN Eddie Waitkus used this bat in an August 1955 series at Busch Stadium in which Philadelphia swept three straight from the Cardinals. In the third game of the series Eddie had a Roy Hobbs type of day, and his best game of what would be his last season, ripping three hits -  one a round-tripper - and drove in four runs in a 9-6 Phillie victory. 

EDDIE WAITKUS

ALL-STAR: 1948, 1949

Waitkus survived shooting to help "Whiz Kids" win 1950 National League pennant

Waitkus became an immortalized figure in baseball lore as the inspiration for Roy Hobbs in Bernard Malamud's The Natural

MAJOR LEAGUE ALL-STAR

EDDIE WAITKUS came up with the Cubs in 1941 and was a member of the pennant winning 1950 Philadelphia Phillies "Whiz Kids."
EDDIE WAITKUS WEB LINKS

Eddie Waitkus began his Major League career on April 15, 1941 with the Chicago Cubs.

A slick-fielding first baseman for 11 seasons for the Cubs, Phillies and Orioles, Waitkus became an immortalized figure in baseball lore as the inspiration for Roy Hobbs in Bernard Malamud's 1984 movie, The Natural starring Robert Redford as Hobbs.

After serving with distinction in the Pacific during World War II, Waitkus became one of the most popular players of his era. As a rookie he led the Cubs in hitting in 1946 and quickly established himself as one of the best first basemen in the National League. To the disappointment of many Cubbie fans, Chicago traded Waitkus to the Phillies in December of 1948.

When he returned to Chicago in a Philadelphia uniform in June of 1949, he was hitting .306 and seemed destined for the all-star team. But, on the night of June 14 at the Edgewater Beach Hotel, Waitkus' bright career took an infamously tragic turn. He received a cryptic note summoning him to meet a young fan, Ruth Steinhagen. When Waitkus entered her hotel room, she shot him in the chest.

A WEEK AFTER Waitkus was shot in Chicago by 19-year old Ruth Steinhagen, the Phillies' first baseman tried out his legs at Illinois Masonic Hospital.


Waitkus survived the shooting and made an inspirational return to baseball in 1950. As the Phillies' leadoff hitter Waitkus helped Philadelphia win the National League pennant — batting .284, scoring 102 runs and playing in 154 games.

Unfortunately for Philadelphia, in the 1950 World Series, the Phillies lost to the Yankees by three consecutive one-run decisions.

After being sold to the Orioles during spring training of 1954, Waitkus returned to Philadelphia in late 1955 and retired that fall.

Waitkus was a National League all-star in 1948 and 1949 (missing the game due to his gun shot wound) and played 11 seasons, compiling a lifetime average of .285 and 1,214 hits.

While Waitkus triumphed over his assault, he couldn't conquer his private demons. According to his family and friends, Waitkus was never the same after the shooting. His outgoing and friendly nature was gone, and replaced with a man who was withdrawn and just generally suspicious of people.

Depression stemming from the attack led to a severe problem with alcohol, a failed marriage and a nervous breakdown. Waitkus worked with youngsters at the Ted Williams baseball camp in the last years of his life. He died of cancer in 1972 at the age of 53.


AS A ROOKIE, Waitkus led the Cubs in hitting in 1946 with a .304 average and quickly established himself as one of the best first basemen in the National League. To the disappointment of many Cubbie fans, Chicago traded Waitkus to the Phillies in 1948.

EDDIE WAITKUS became an immortalized figure in baseball lore as the inspiration for Roy Hobbs in Bernard Malamud's 1984 movie, The Natural, starring Robert Redford (above) as Hobbs.

EDDIE WAITKUS: Did you know...


...Waitkus won four Battle Stars during World War II, and was wounded as an Amphibious Engineer Sergeant in the Pacific.


...Waitkus was offered scholarships to Holy Cross and Harvard, but passed them up to play pro baseball.

...Waitkus, on June 23, 1946, hit back-to-back inside-the-park home runs with Marv Rickert — a Major League first.

...Waitkus hit an inside-the-park grand slam on August 24, 1947. Only six players had accomplished that since 1920.

...Waitkus was traded in Dec. 1948 by the Chicago Cubs with Hank Borowy to the Philadelphia Phillies for Monk Dubiel and Dutch Leonard.

...Waitkus was purchased in March 1954 by the Baltimore Orioles from the Philadelphia Phillies.

...Waitkus was born September 4, 1919 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He died September 16, 1972 in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts at age 53.



WAITKUS WAS TRADED from the Phillies to the Orioles in 1954. He played in Baltimore in 1954 and the first half of 1955, but was traded back to the Phillies for whom he played out the last 33 games of a very memorable Major League career.