Cincinnati, a non-factor in the pennant race the previous few years, dropped out of the league and was replaced by a Detroit franchise. Cincy would resurface the next year in the new American Association. Chicago once again ran away with the pennant, although they were not quite as dominating as the year before. They were nine games in front of Providence, with Buffalo third.
Cap Anson ran away with the batting title with a .399 average. Joe Start was second at .328, then Fred Dunlap at .325. Abner Dalrymple and King Kelly were next at .323. George Gore scored 86 runs (in 73 games), Kelly 84 (in 82 games). Kelly and Paul Hines led the league with 27 doubles.
Larry Corcoran and Jim (Grasshopper) Whitney were the only 30-game winners with 31 each. George Derby had 29 wins, Pud Galvin 28. Stump Weidman led with a 1.80 ERA but had only 13 starts. John M. Ward led regular pitchers with a 2.13 mark, then Derby was at 2.20. Derby led the loop with 212 strikeouts, followed by Jim McCormick at 178.
Win Shares leaders: pitchers; Jim Whitney (Boston) 42, Pud Galvin (Buffalo) 36, Jim McCormick (Cleveland) and George Derby (Detroit) 34, Larry Corcoran (Chicago) 30, John M. Ward (Providence P/OF/SS) 27, Lee Richmond (Worcester) 26, Fred Goldsmith (Chicago) and Mickey Welch (Troy) 25, Charlie Radbourn (Providence) 24, Tim Keefe (Troy) 23. It was becoming more common for teams to have two alternating pitchers.
Position players; Cap Anson (Chicago) 22, Tom York (Providence) 17, Paul Hines, Joe Start (both Providence) and King Kelly (Chicago) 16, Dan Brouthers and Hardy Richardson (Buffalo), Abner Dalrymple and George Gore (Chicago), Fred Dunlap (Cleveland), and Charlie Bennett (Detroit) with 15. Jim O'Rourke (Buffalo) and Ned Williamson (Chicago) had 14.
WARP3 scores: Whitney 7.7 (in his rookie year), Galvin 6.6, McCormick 6.5, Derby 3.1 (his rookie, and only good year), Corcoran 0.5, Ward 5.0, Richmond 1.4, Goldsmith 1.3, Welch 2.4, Radbourn 4.6 (rookie season), Keefe 0.4.
Among players, Anson 9.0, York 5.2, Hines 5.9, Start 3.3, Kelly 6.7, Brouthers 4.1, Richardson 5.1, Dalrymple 5.7, Gore 6.7, Dunlap 8.5, Bennett 8.8, O'Rourke 2.7, Williamson 6.3. Additionally, Pebbly Jack Glasscock (Cleveland) posted a 5.1 mark, John Rowe (Buffalo) was at 4.9, and Buck Ewing of Troy at 4.6.
WAR, pitchers: Derby 6.8, Galvin 6.1, Whitney 5.1, Welch 4.6, McCormick 4.2, Radbourn 3.5. WAR, position players: Anson 5.7, Bennett 4.3, Dunlap 3.9, Williamson 3.1, Kelly 2.6, Start, York, and Richardson 2.5.
Top pitcher: Pud Galvin. It's a tough choice, as there is no clear standout. Corcoran and Whitney tied for the wins lead, Stump Wiedman led in ERA for Detroit but pitched only 13 games. McCormick led in WHIP, Derby in strikeouts and shutouts. Galvin is something of a compromise choice, as he did well in about every category, without standing out in any.
#1 Pud Galvin, #2 George Derby, #3 Larry Corcoran, #4 Jim McCormick, #5 Jim Whitney.
Among players, this was truly Cap Anson's year. He led the league in batting average, on-base, OPS, RBI, hits, total bases, and OPS+. A dominating performance for Cap at age 29. Only Brouthers was close as a hitter.
#1 Cap Anson, #2 Charlie Bennett, #3 Fred Dunlap, #4 King Kelly, #5 Ed Williamson.
Rookie of the year was Charles (Old Hoss) Radbourn, who would make history in a couple of years with an iron-man performance.
Best manager: Anson, for the second straight year, as his White Stockings repeated.