September 28, 1938 – Cubs Game History of “Homer in the Gloamin”

Charles Leo “Gabby” Hartnett (December 20, 1900 – December 20, 1972) was an National Major League Baseball catcher and manager who played nearly his entire career with the Chicago Cubs. He is widely considered to have been the greatest National League catcher in the first half of the 20th century.


“Homer in the Gloamin'” refers to a game-winning home run hit by Hartnett in the bottom of the ninth inning on Sept. 28, 1938. The Cubs were trailing Pittsburgh by only half a game, and the lightless Wrigley Field was gradually being overcome by darkness. The score was tied 5-5; if it had become too dark, the game would have had to be replayed from the beginning. With two out in the bottom of the ninth, two strikes on him, and the umpires ready to end the game, Hartnett launched a shot into the gloom and haze which would be remembered as his “Homer in the Gloamin'”. The Cubs were now in first place, culminating a tremendous 19-3-1 September run, and the pennant would be clinched three days later. Unfortunately, the Cubs were swept in the World Series by the New York Yankees, their fourth Series loss in ten years.

The Cubs have appeared in a total of eleven World Series. The 1906 Cubs won 116 games, finishing 116–36 and posting a modern-era record winning percentage of .763, before losing the World Series to the Chicago White Sox (“The Hitless Wonders”) by four games to two. The Cubs won back-to-back World Series championships in 1907 and 1908, becoming the first major league team to play in three consecutive World Series, and the first to win it twice. Then there was a long drought; it took 108 years for the Cubs to win another World Series, which they did in 2016.

The Drought Is Over

The Drought Is Over

The story of “Homer in the Gloamin” seems to be known by every single person in the entire Chicago metropolitan area, although not so much outside of it.


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9 Responses to September 28, 1938 – Cubs Game History of “Homer in the Gloamin”

  1. Julie P. says:

    I wasn’t familiar with it either (and I’m even a Pirates fan.) Thanks for the great story!

  2. Thanks for your public service announcement. I had no idea of the drama involved. I did notice he was born and then died on the same date. Unusual.

  3. Rita K says:

    Funny!! I will have to see what I don’t know about Maryland when I get there. Anything to tell me?

  4. Jenners says:

    I’m glad my trips to Chicago in the past did not reveal my ignorance of this story. Thank you for informing me!

  5. Staci says:

    I liked this little history lesson and I will try to remember this the next time I go to Chicago!!

  6. Lisa says:

    Good to know. I hate to be out of the loop when I visit a city. And chances are, if you’re in Chicago, baseball will come up.

  7. Alyce says:

    I haven’t heard this story before, but that isn’t that surprising since I’m not up to date on much concerning sports. However, after reading about “Homer in the Gloamin” I have Brigadoon songs running through my head. (The mist of May is in the gloamin’,and all the clouds are holdin’ still …) 🙂

  8. BooksPlease says:

    Well I’ve heard of “Roamin in the gloamin on the bonnie banks o’Clyde”!

  9. rebeccareid says:

    I live in the Chicago suburbs and I didn’t know the story. But then, I don’t care about baseball. At all.

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