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 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.