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The Homer in the Gloamin' is one of the most famous walk-off home runs in baseball lore, hit by Gabby Hartnett of the Chicago Cubs near the end of the 1938 major league baseball season. The expression was a play on the popular song, "Roamin' In The Gloamin'".

The play

The Pittsburgh Pirates had led the National League for much of the 1938 season, but when the final month of the season came, the Pirates began to falter. By the time they came to Chicago late in September for a three-game series, the Chicago Cubs had nearly caught the Pirates in the standings. The Cubs won the first game on the 27th by a 2–1 score, which left the Pirates still in first place with 85 wins and 59 losses, and the Cubs trailing by half a game at 86–61.

The game of September 28, 1938, reached the bottom of the ninth inning with the score tied 5–5. Wrigley Field had no lights at the time and was gradually being overcome by early-evening darkness. Cubs catcher Gabby Hartnett came to bat with two outs, and Pirates relief pitcher Mace Brown got two strikes on Hartnett. In those days, suspended game rules did not provide for suspending games due to darkness. The game would have to have been replayed the next day, prior to the scheduled third game of the series. The umpire was ready to call the game on account of darkness once the ninth inning ended.

Hartnett hit Brown's two-strike pitch into the left field bleachers for a game-winning home run. Hartnett was swarmed by players and fans as he touched home plate after circling the bases.


As a result of the shot, the Cubs vaulted into first place. They won the next day's scheduled game over the Pirates 10–1, completing a three-game sweep of the Bucs, and would clinch the pennant in St. Louis three days later. The Cubs would finish the season 89–63, with Pirates 2 games out at 86–64. That was the high point of the Cubs season, as they were swept in the 1938 World Series by the New York Yankees, their fourth World Series loss in ten years.

"Roamin' in the Gloamin'" was a popular song dating to 1911, written and recorded by Harry Lauder. "Gloaming" is a colloquial term for "twilight". Writers picked up on these facts and Hartnett's clutch hit became known in Cubs lore as the "Homer in the Gloamin'".

The rules for making up tied games were somewhat less strict in those days, as it can be seen that if a full 154 decisions had been played by both clubs, the Pirates would still have had a mathematical chance of finishing on top. The Cubs were missing two decisions, and the Pirates four.

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