1884 Baseball Season Roster
- Old Hoss Radbourn wins 59, Providence wins NL crown
- Cap Anson, King Kelly lead slugging Chicago
- American Association expands … Union Association is born, but dies in infancy
Exhibit A in the case for Good Pitching Beats Good Hitting: Though Chicago scored 834 runs in 112 games, had the National League’s top four RBI men and scored 190 more runs than it allowed, the team that had won the NL titles from 1880-82 and finished second in 1883 slipped to fifth in the eight-team league. Even Cap Anson (.335-21-102) and King Kelly (.354, .414 OBP, league-best 120 runs) were no match for the mound work that made Old Hoss Radbourn a legend: A record 59 wins with a league-leading 1.38 ERA for the Providence Grays. The Grays scored 169 fewer runs than the White Stockings, but were by far the best at preventing runs and dominated the NL with 84 wins, finishing 10 ½ games ahead of second-place Boston and 22 games ahead of Chicago.
Other notable NL stars included future Hall of Famers Dan Brouthers, Jim O’Rourke and Pud Galvin of Buffalo, and New York’s Mickey Welch and John Montgomery Ward.
The American Association expanded to 13 teams, though Richmond and Washington did not complete the new 100-plus-game schedule. The New York Metropolitans, led by batting leader David Orr (.354), won a five-team pennant race.
The Union Association debuted as a league without the hated reserve clause that bound players to one team, but only five of its 13 teams completed the league’s only season, won in a rout by St. Louis (94-19). The UA had its statistical stars, though: St. Louis’ Frank Dunlap led the league with a .414 batting average and pitcher Hugh “One Arm” Daily struck out 483 men.
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