Cleveland dropped out of the league, replaced by St. Louis, leaving Cleveland with no major league teams and St. Louis with two. Chicago won the pennant after a two-year drought, in a hard-fought battle with New York. No other teams even came close. Hoss Radbourn returned to the ranks of mortal men, and Providence sank to 4th place.
Roger Connor won the batting title with a .371 average, and Dan Brouthers was second at .359. Third was Mike Dorgan at .326. Next came Hardy Richardson (.319), George Gore and Ezra Sutton (.313), Cap Anson (.310), Buck Ewing (.304), Ned Hanlon (.302), and Jim O'Rourke (.300). King Kelly scored 124 runs, O'Rourke 119, and Gore 115. Anson had 35 doubles and Brouthers 32. O'Rourke had 16 triples and Connor 15. Anson had 108 RBI, Kelly was second with 75.
John Clarkson led in wins with 53, Mickey Welch had 44, Tim Keefe 32, Charley Radbourn 28, Ed Daily and Charlie Ferguson 26. Keefe led in ERA with 1.58, Welch posted a 1.66, Clarkson a 1.85. Clarkson had 308 strikeouts, Welch 258, Charlie Buffinton 242.
NL Win Shares leaders, pitchers; John Clarkson (Chicago) 62, Mickey Welch (New York) 57, Tim Keefe (New York) 42, Charlie Ferguson (Philadelphia) 41, Charley Radbourn (Providence) 39, Ed Daily (Philadelphia) 35, Charlie Buffinton (Boston) 28, Jim Whitney (Boston) and Henry Boyle (St. Louis) 24.
Position players; George Gore (Chicago) and Roger Connor (New York) 30 each, Dan Brouthers (Buffalo) 26, Abner Dalrymple (Chicago) 25, King Kelly (Chicago) and Jim O'Rourke (New York) 24 each, Cap Anson (Chicago) 23, Ezra Sutton (Boston) 22, Ned Williamson (Chicago) 21, Sam Wise (Boston), Hardy Richardson (Buffalo) and Buck Ewing (New York) 19.
WARP3 leaders, pitchers: Clarkson 11.8, Radbourn 6.0, Ferguson 5.7, Buffinton 5.0, Daily 4.4 (rookie, best season), Welch 4.2, Lady Baldwin (Detroit) 4.1. Not among leaders are Keefe 2.2, Boyle 0.7 (rookie), Whitney 0.6.
WARP3 leaders, players: Connor 10.0, Charlie Bennett (Detroit) 8.4, Brouthers 8.0, Ewing 7.9, Gore 7.8, Kelly 7.5, O'Rourke 7.4, Fred Dunlap and Jack Glasscock (St. Louis) 6.6 each, Mike Dorgan (New York) 6.2, Williamson 5.9 (last big year), Dalrymple and Sutton (last big year for both) 5.6. Not among WARP leaders: Anson 3.1, Wise 3.2, Richardson 5.0.
WAR leaders, pitchers: Clarkson 13.8, Welch 10.6, Keefe 7.0, Daily 5.7, Radbourn 5.5, Ferguson 5.0, Buffinton 4.1. Position players: Connor 8.0, Gore 5.0, Brouthers 4.9, Glasscock 4.7, Williamson and Bennett 4.4, Dunlap 4.1, O'Rourke 3.9, Ewing 3.7, Sutton and Anson 3.6.
Top pitcher: John Clarkson's first full season was a big success, and helped bring the pennant back to Chicago. He threw more innings than anybody, and as effectively as anyone else. He was 1st in wins, innings, and strikeouts, and 3rd in ERA.
#1 John Clarkson, #2 Mickey Welch, #3 Tim Keefe, #4 Charley Radbourn, #4 Charlie Ferguson.
Top player is Roger Connor. Connor led in average, hits, and total bases, and tied Brouthers for top OPS+.
#1 Roger Connor, #2 Dan Brouthers, #3 George Gore, #4 Charlie Bennett, #5 Jack Glasscock.
Top rookie: Ed Daily had a fine season for Philadelphia.
Top manager: Cap Anson brought Chicago back to the pennant after two years away.