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.
"I found out through my ex-wife - I'm not sure how she found out - and I looked (Steinhagen) up online. And as soon as I saw (her photograph) online I said, 'That's her,' " Gentner said.
The 1984 movie was based on a novel by Bernard Malamud that was inspired by the story. Theodore's 2002 book was entitled "Baseball's Natural: The story of Eddie Waitkus."
Waitkus, who played the season after he was shot, helping the Phillies win the National League pennant, decided not to press charges in 1952 when Steinhagen was deemed sane. The trial would have likely made banner headlines - particularly since Malamud's novel was released in 1952 - so Watikus' decision almost certainly assisted Steinhagen's disappearance into obscurity.
He died in 1972, 12 years before Redford portrayed Roy Hobbs, the character inspired by Waitkus.
"He hardly ever talked to his family about Ruth," Theodore said.