Is "The Natural" based on a true story?
Many film buffs (and sports fans) consider "The Natural" to be the best baseball flick ever made. The story revolves around Roy Hobbs, an impossibly good player who, after being shot by a disturbed fan, finally makes it to the big leagues as a "middle-aged rookie." The movie is based on a novel by Bernard Malamud, and though its tone is quite different from the source material, many key points, including the inspiration for Roy Hobbs, are the same.
Roy Hobbs was based on several players, the most obvious being Ted Williams. The great Red Sox slugger said he wanted to be remembered as "the greatest hitter who ever lived." Hobbs had similarly lofty goals. It's also worth noting that they both wore the number nine, played outfield, hit home runs in their last at-bats, and didn't get to play ball in their prime (Williams because of military service; Hobbs because of injury).
While Williams inspired Hobbs' talent, Roy's off-the-field troubles were based on the life of Eddie Waitkus. Like Hobbs, Waitkus was shot by an obsessed fan, a woman named Ruth Ann Steinhagen. Fortunately, Waitkus was able to return the next season and played in all 154 games. Overall, he had a solid career, though he never forgot his encounter with Ms. Steinhagen. He would later say, "She had the coldest-looking face that I ever saw."