Buffalo and Providence dropped out of the league, replaced by new franchises in Kansas City and Washington, making the league a bit more "national." KC would only last the year, as travel proved difficult, even paired with St. Louis. Chicago won the pennant in a close race with Detroit. The new teams trailed badly, and St. Louis was a poor 6th, so a western swing was an up-and-down matter for the eastern clubs.
King Kelly won the batting title at .388, followed by Cap Anson at .371, Dan Brouthers .370, Roger Connor .355, Hardy Richardson .351. Kelly scored 155 runs, Gore 150, Brouthers 139, Richardson 125, Anson 117. Brouthers led with 40 doubles, Anson 35, Kelly 32, Paul Hines 30. Connor had 20 triples, Brouthers and George Wood 15. Anson had 147 RBI, and next was Fred Pfeffer with 95. Ed Andrews had 56 stolen bases, Kelly 53 and Ned Hanlon 50.
Lady Baldwin and Tim Keefe tied with 42 wins, John Clarkson 36, Mickey Welch 33, Jim McCormick 31, Charlie Ferguson and Charlie Getzein 30. Henry Boyle led with a 1.76 ERA, Ferguson 1.98, Baldwin and Jocko Flynn 2.24, Clarkson and Dan Casey 2.41. Baldwin led the way with 323 strikeouts, Clarkson had 313, Keefe 297, Welch 272.
NL Win Shares, pitchers; Lady Baldwin (Detroit) 53, Charlie Ferguson (Philadelphia) 49, John Clarkson (Chicago) 42, Tim Keefe (New York) 38, Jim McCormick (Chicago) 33, Charley Radbourn (Boston) and Charlie Getzien (Detroit) 32, Mickey Welch (New York) and Dan Casey (Philadelphia) 29.
Position players; Roger Connor (New York) 36, King Kelly (Chicago) 35 (which seems a very large total for a guy who made 58 errors), Hardy Richardson (Detroit) 32, Dan Brouthers (Detroit) 31, Cap Anson (Chicago) 30, George Gore (Chicago) 26, Jim O'Rourke (New York) 24, Jack Glasscock (St. Louis) 22, Sam Thompson (Detroit) and John M. Ward (New York) 21. These numbers jumped because of an increase in league games, up to around 120 from 100, as well as the two strong teams with lots of wins.
WARP3 scores: Ferguson 10.0 (best year), Baldwin 7.1 (career year), Keefe 5.5, Radbourn 5.1. Not among the very best were McCormick 3.7 (last good year), Clarkson 3.4, Getzien -0.9, Welch 0.1, Casey 2.3 (rookie or nearly so).
Players, Kelly 10.5, Richardson 10.2, Brouthers 9.4, Connor 8.6, Glasscock 8.3, O'Rourke 7.3, Thompson 7.2 (first full season), Anson 7.1 (back after three-year slump), Charlie Bennett (Detroit) 6.2, Gore 5.9 (last year with Chicago), Buck Ewing (New York) 5.8, Paul Hines (Washington) 5.0. Trailing was Ward at 2.4.
WAR, pitchers: Baldwin 11.8, Ferguson 10.6, Keefe 9.9, Clarkson 8.6, McCormick 8.0, Casey 6.8. Position players: Brouthers 8.5, Kelly 7.7, Richardson 7.5, Connor 7.3, Anson 7.2, Glasscock 6.6.
Top player: King Kelly. I'm gonna go with the King on this one, leader in average and OBA, even though Brouthers led in OPS. This is an importance of OBA vote. WARP and WAR have Kelly in the lead, WS has him a close second.
#1 King Kelly, #2 Dan Brouthers, #3 Hardy Richardson, #4 Roger Connor, #5 Cap Anson.
For top pitcher, Charlie Ferguson of Philly. Baldwin got a lot of help from a fine team, and Ferguson did the better pitching job.
#1 Charlie Ferguson, #2 Lady Baldwin, #3 Tim Keefe, #4 Jim McCormick, #5 John Clarkson.
Top rookie: Jocko Flynn is a good choice in a not-so-good year for debuts. Flynn was 23-6 for Chicago, in essentially his only major league year.
Top manager: Bill Watkins, who engineered a big turnaround in Detroit. He was just 28, and didn't play, but he sure turned the team around.