What did the world lose when the Pirates faded at the end of the 1938 season and lost the pennant to the Cubs? This stunning Pittsburgh Pirate World Series program cover. Fortunately for you baseball art aesthetes, it was reproduced on a card.
With all the hype around the Homer in the Gloamin' one would think it was hit in the fading light of the last day of the season. Not so. After Gabby Hartnett homered with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Bucs 6-5 and move the Cubs into first place by a half-game, the Pirates played another five games. The Cubs also played another five, one of which was a tie. Not only that, but the vagaries of the rules in 1938 allowed the Pirates to come up four games short of a 154-game schedule and the Cubs to finish with 152 games - this in spite of the fact that Pittsburgh was just two games out when play ceased on October 2.
What should have happened next was for the Pirates to travel to Philadelphia for a doubleheader on Monday, October 3 while the Cubs were going to Brooklyn for a pair against the Dodgers. If the day ended with the Pirates a game back or tied for first, then Pittsburgh would have also headed to Brooklyn for a pair against the Dodgers on Tuesday. Then, if they were still tied, a best-of-three playoff series would have ensued later in the week. It had the potential to be one of the most memorable finishes of a all time. Instead we have a legendary home run that probably never should have been as legendary as it became, but that's what you get when you give something a poetic-sounding name.