Detroit dropped out of the league, and Cleveland joined up, abandoning the AA. New York won its second straight pennant, edging out the Beaneaters of Boston, in spite of the heroic efforts of Boston pitcher John Clarkson. Chicago was just above .500 in third, then came Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Indianapolis, with Washington last.
Dan Brouthers won the batting title at .373. Next came Jack Glasscock at .352, Cap Anson .342, Mike Tiernan .335, Fred Carroll .330, Buck Ewing .327, Jimmy Ryan .325. Tiernan scored 147 runs, Hugh Duffy 144, Ryan 140, George Gore 132. Glasscock had 205 hits. King Kelly led with 41 doubles, Glasscock had 40. Walt Wilmot had 19 triples. Sam Thompson had 20 homers. Roger Connor had 130 RBI, Brouthers 118, Anson 117. Jim Fogarty stole 99 bases.
Clarkson won 49 games while pitching in 73, an astonishing total by this time. Next highest was 49 games pitched. It was serious overwork, but it was effective. Charlie Buffinton and Tim Keefe won 28, Mickey Welch 27, Pud Galvin won 23, Cinders O'Brien 22, Henry Boyle and Harry Staley 21, Ed Beatin and Charley Radbourn 20. Clarkson led with a 2.73 ERA, Jersey Bakley at 2.96, Welch 3.02, Buffinton 3.24, Keefe 3.36. Clarkson completed his pitcher's triple crown with 284 strikeouts, Keefe had 225, Staley 159.
Win Shares leaders, NL Pitchers; John Clarkson (Boston) 60, Charlie Buffinton (Philadelphia) 33, Mickey Welch (New York) 31, Henry Boyle (Indianapolis) and Ben Sanders (Philadephia) 28, Darby O'Brien (Cleveland) 23, Jersey Bakely and Ed Beatin (Cleveland) and Harry Staley (Pittsburgh) 22, Charley Radbourn (Boston) 21.
NL Position players; Dan Brouthers (Boston) and Mike Tiernan (New York) 28, Jack Glasscock (Indianapolis) 27, Roger Connor (New York) 26, Hardy Richardson (Boston) and Jimmy Ryan (Chicago) 25, King Kelly (Boston) 24, Buck Ewing and George Gore (New York) and Fred Carroll (Pittsburgh) 23, Cap Anson and George Van Haltren (Chicago) 21.
WARP3 scores: Pitchers, Clarkson 12.2, Buffinton 9.5, Boyle 5.9 (last and best year), Welch 5.8, Sanders 5.3. Not among WARP leaders were: O'Brien 2.5, Bakely 3.3, Beatin 2.2, Staley 3.0, Radbourn 3.6.
Players, Tiernan and Ewing 8.5, Glasscock 7.6, Ryan 7.3, Ed McKean (Cleveland) 6.8, Connor 6.6, Carroll 6.5 (best year), Brouthers 6.3, Richardson 6.2, Gore 6.1. Not among WARP leaders: Kelly 4.6, Anson 5.0, Van Haltren 5.0.
WAR leaders, pitchers: Clarkson 16.0, Buffinton 9.7, Welch 6.8, Sanders 6.1, Boyle 5.9, Radbourn 5.0, Keefe 4.7, Bakley 4.6, Beatin 4.5. Position players: Glasscock 6.6, Connor 6.4, Brouthers 6.3, Tiernan and Tucker 6.2, Anson 5.3, McKean 5.0, Ewing 4.5, Ryan 4.4, Richardson 4.1.
Best pitcher: John Clarkson. Clarkson nearly doubled up everybody in Win Shares, leading with 620 innings which was 200 more than anyone else. It was an astounding season, and by far the best of the year. Perhaps it was even more astonishing that his arm didn't fall off. He also led in wins, ERA and strikeouts.
#1 John Clarkson, #2 Charlie Buffinton, #3 Mickey Welch, #4 Henry Boyle, #5 Ben Sanders.
Best player: Mike Tiernan scored 147 runs for the pennant winners, batted .335, and was a solid all-around player. Pebbly Jack Glasscock was superb defensively and batted .352, but his also-ran team hurts him. Dan Brouthers hit .373, Roger Connor drove in 130 runs, and Buck Ewing was widely regarded as the best player in the league. There are also others who could rank here.
#1 Mike Tiernan, #2 Jack Glasscock, #3 Dan Brouthers, #4 Buck Ewing, #5 Roger Connor.
Amos Rusie had a lousy rookie season, but would become the best of the lot.
Best manager: Jim Hart got Boston within a game of the top.