The first time Ruth Ann Steinhagen laid eyes on Eddie Waitkus she fell in love with him. In 1946, Eddie was the Chicago Cubs first-baseman. Sixteen-year-old Ruth Ann began going to Cubs games with friends. After collecting hundreds of newspaper pictures and articles, she built a shrine to him in her bedroom and often set an extra place at the dinner table for him.
When Eddie was traded to the Phillies in 1948, Ruth Ann cried and said she didn't want to live. Annoyed that her parents sent her to a psychiatrist, the 19-year-old got her own apartment. Knowing the Phillies would play the Cubs in Chicago in June 1949, she decided it was time to meet Eddie. She reserved a room under the name Ruth Ann Burns at the hotel where the Phillies would be staying.
She also bought a .22 caliber rifle at a pawnshop.