By 1909 what we today call the "dead ball era" was in full swing. Batting averages were down, the bunt, stolen base and hit and run were the preferred offensive tactics and pitching was king. And no team better exemplified the era than the 1909 Detroit Dynamos, who lifted the "pitching first" credo to an art form.

Detroit's offense was very much run of the mill - they finished seventh in average at .236 and had the fifth-best runs scored total in the league: not very impressive. The only batting category they led the league in was home runs - with 23. But they excelled defensively and they really, really excelled at pitching. With a staff headed by Woody Trease that also featured the never-boring Bill Temple, plus youngster Jim Golden and bush-league veteran Dan Tyler, the Dynamos allowed just 434 runs and had a 2.05 ERA, both tops in the league (and they also committed the fewest errors in the league as well).

Things didn't all go their way: Temple's drinking was a continuing problem and after he punched out manager Norman Walton for refusing to allow him to pitch inebriated, he was dealt to Boston despite a 1.92 ERA (he ended up having an erratic season, going 4-9 with a 2.95 ERA in Boston and posting a season ledger of 14-21, 2.34 with a career-worst 129 walks and the fewest strikeouts (183) of his career). With Temple gone, the team was forced to rely on the unproven Golden and Tyler who both came through. Trease was, as usual, excellent, appearing in 46 games with a 28-15 record and a 1.82 ERA. Tyler made 32 starts, went 18-12 with a 1.95 ERA and Golden, at just 20 years of age, made 36 starts and went 23-12 with a 2.14 ERA. 

The Dynamos won the pennant in a tough race that saw four different clubs hold first place during the summer: the Dynamos, Philadelphia, Chicago and Washington. The Keystones returned to the pennant race and ended up just short, three back of the Dynamos with an 85-66 record. They had the league's batting champ in 30-year-old rookie LF Earl Smith (.337) who edged out New York's emerging star Ed Ziehl (.335) and Washington's Charlie Campbell (.328). The Keystones led the league in runs scored, but still needed to find a true ace - all of their three top starters posted ERAs north of 2.70 and that wasn't going to get it done. Third-place Chicago ended just a half-game back of Philly and they did have good pitching, with ace George Wilson (24-17, 2.16) finally getting a quality sidekick in Tommy Woodlin (21-14, 2.16). The Chiefs also acquired SS Bill McCaskey from Baltimore and he hit .322 at the top of the lineup and helped Chicago post the league's 3rd-best runs scored total.

The Washington Eagles were a study in contrasts, looking outstanding for stretches of the season and clueless in others. They ended up fourth, 6.5 games behind Detroit despite a good lineup led by 2B Charlie Campbell, and SS Charlie Coller (.260, 38 steals) and a stud pitcher in Bill West (30-16, 2.10) who led the league in wins and strikeouts (266). The Gothams finished two over .500 at 77-75 with a lineup featuring three hitters over .300: Ziehl (.335), CF Jim Elkins (.315) and 1B Wash Berentsen (.311). Ziehl also stole 86 bases and played a great defensive second base. But, like the Keystones, the Gothams pitching was weak and it showed in their record.

Boston came out of the gate very poorly, and though they played better in the second half of the season, never really recovered and finished sixth at 65-86. They also had to deal with Temple's issues though it was hoped Theobald could work his magic on baseball's preeminent headcase. Pittsburgh was seventh with a 64-89 mark and St. Louis finished dead-last with a 60-90 mark. 

The Continental Association season held a surprise. Everyone assumed that the Baltimore Clippers, with the league's best hitter (Powell Slocum) and best pitcher (Mike Marner) would march to yet another pennant. No one expected the Toronto Wolves to shock the nation and finished 3.5 games better than the Clips, but that's what happened. Toronto went 91-61 to claim the pennant with an outstanding all-around season. The Wolves' topped the pitching charts thanks to the return of Charlie Sis. The 25-year-old Sis had been a sensation in 1905, posting a 32-13, 1.48 season for the St. Louis Pioneers. Unfortunately, he also burned out his arm and missed the next three seasons before signing on with the Wolves and making a dramatic return to form with a 30-18, 2.12 effort. Toronto got a half-season of brilliance from Don French as well - he was 15-4 with a 1.86 ERA before suffering a broken elbow in August that cost him the rest of the season. Toronto's offense featured SS Al Stout (.329) in the leadoff spot and 1B Bill Harris (.314) hitting third and posted the 2nd-best runs scored total in the CA.

The Wolves finished 3.5 games up on Baltimore, whose offense surprisingly sputtered a bit, tallying 593 runs, which was only fourth-best in the Continental. They did get another truly outstanding season from Powell Slocum. The 22-year-old from Ragland, Alabama was now firmly established as the CA's premier player. He led the league in hitting for the third-straight season and just missed out on a .400 campaign, finishing at .398 while also leading the league in RBIs (91) and stolen bases (83) in a deadball-era Triple Crown season (he only had 1 home run but did have 30 doubles and 14 triples). Unfortunately, Slocum didn't get much help - Jimmy Whipple was good (.304-0-57) and new 1B Dixie Ranscomb (.300-1-62) looked promising, but they just didn't score as many runs as they should have. The pitching was very good - Mike Marner had the "worst" of his three seasons, but that was still better than almost everyone else: 31-17, 2.07, and Bill DiTommaso dropped off a bit in his second season (18-12, 2.37) but the Clips still allowed the second-fewest runs in the league.

Brooklyn was a strong third with an 80-73 mark as they improved by 26 games over their last-place finish in 1908 thanks to an offense that led the league in runs scored, despite being fourth in batting average. If anyone believed in clutch hitting, they would definitely use the 1909 Kings as a prime example. The Chicago Cougars and Montreal Saints tied for fourth at 77-76. For Montreal, it was just their second winning season of the 20th century (the other one was right at the start in 1901). Former powerhouse New York dropped to sixth - John Waggoner was still a stud at age 35 (.337-2-73), but the rest of the offense sputtered (6th in runs scored and batting average) and the pitching, while pretty good (3rd overall in ERA and runs allowed) didn't have a true ace.

The Sailors were seventh and the most informational tidbit of their season was that their ace turned out to be a 32-year-old journeyman who they picked up midseason after he was cut by the Indianapolis club of the Century League (Aaron Frantz - who posted a very solid 12-5, 1.64 mark - the best ERA in the league, albeit in just 170.1 innings). Cleveland, which had been a contender as recently as 1906, bottomed out in last place. They also saw the stellar career of Allan Allen come to an end. The 42-year-old was having a relatively poor season (13-23, 2.56) when he went out with a broken kneecap. Allen finished with a slew of "not gonna be broken" records, headed up by an astronomical 514 wins. 

The World Series matchup featured a series of nailbiters with all but one of the six games being one-run affairs. Detroit opened up with a 2-1 win in Toronto with Woody Trease outdueling Charlie Sis. Dan Tyler was the loser the next day as Toronto evened it up with a 2-1 win of their own. Jim Golden won a 3-2 decision in game three back in Detroit, but once again the Wolves bounced back as Charlie Sis shutout the Dynamos 3-0 in game four. Detroit won the pivotal game five 4-3 in twelve innings. Game six was another nailbiter with Jim Golden pitching another gem in a 2-1 win that made the Dynamos champions for the first time in club history.