Icons of the Ivy: Gabby Hartnett
Gabby Hartnett is the unquestioned greatest catcher in Cubs history.
He spent 19 years with the organization, playing more than 1,900 games and catching over 15,000 innings from 1922-40. He racked up 55.0 WAR with the Cubs in that time and finished his career with a .297 average, .370 on-base percentage and .858 OPS.
In 1930, Hartnett hit 37 home runs and drove in 122 — both career highs. However, his MVP season came a half-decade later when he posted a .344 batting average with 13 homers and 91 RBI in 1935.
In total, Hartnett collected 1,867 hits, 236 homers and 1,179 RBI as a Cub.
He ranks 6th all time in Cubs history in RBI and 8th in games played. He also pulled off the incredible feat of walking (691) more than he struck out (683) over his two decades in Chicago.
But Hartnett’s impact didn’t just show up on the stat sheet. He was a leader for the Cubs both on and off the field.
“Gabby was player-manager for the Cubs from 1930 to 1940, hitting one of the most famous home runs in Cubs history in 1938, helping the team cap a late rally to win the National League pennant, his fourth while a member of the team,” said team historian Ed Hartig.
That famous blast was nicknamed the “Homer in the Gloamin'” as Hartnett crushed a walk-off homer against the Pirates in the bottom of the 9th inning on Sept. 28, 1938 as darkness descended upon Wrigley Field.
The 6-time All-Star was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955.