100 Greatest Phillies

100 Greatest Phillies: 64 – Eddie Waitkus

Eddie Waitkus
First Baseman
1949-1953, 1955

Career w/Phillies: .280 AVG / 9 HR / 197 RBI / 9 SB

Eddie Waitkus was traded to the Phillies from the Cubs in 1949. A top hitter, he was coming off a .295 season. Fifty-four games into the season, he was shot by a crazed female fan, ending his season and potentially his career. But no, no, Waitkus returned. He returned with gusto, backed by a score by Randy Newman. Yes, Eddie Waitkus was “The Natural.” Okay, okay, he was the inspiration, not the real thing. But he did return from the tragedy to play very well. He hit .284 and scored 102 runs for the 1950 Phillies, then — though struggling in 1951, had a fine 1952 campaign before an abbreviated 1953. He returned in 1955 and played well in 33 games. Sadly, the shooting did a number on his mind, and his body followed soon. He died of cancer at age 53.

Comment: Waitkus had a short Phillie career, but helped to contribute to the 1950 pennant winners. Though his story is tragic, his spirit lives on through the wonderful score of Randy Newman. Ah, Randy Newman.

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