This is one of the most glorious moments in Cubs history since their last World Series title. It came on the evening of September 28, 1938. Rather than recount the story of the ’38 pennant race and Hartnett’s homer, which has its own Wikipedia page and a sizable article on mlb.com, I’ll just present this picture from the Chicago Tribune of Sept. 29, showing Gabby being mobbed by the fans after his homer:
By the way, decades after he died, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette provided a capsule biography of Gabby, who was born December 20, 1900, in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and died December 20, 1972 in Park Ridge, Illinois, of cirrhosis of the liver. The newspaper noted:
“Gabby Hartnett was the oldest of 14 children born to Fred and Nell Hartnett. He grew up on Purcell’s Hill in Millville, later on Preston Street in the center of town. As a teenager he played ball in the Blackstone Valley League and worked in a local factory. He also played for Dean Academy in Franklin, which he attended for two years.
“At age 20, he signed on with the Worcester Boosters of the Eastern League and became the starting catcher, hitting .264 in his first year there. A scout for the Chicago Cubs saw his play and he was signed with the Major League team in 1922.”