The Detroit Dynamos had become something of an enigma. After back-to-back pennants in 1907-08 (with a championship in the latter season) and another pennant in 1911, the team had bounced up and down in the standings - usually contending for portions of the season before ending up third or fourth. The one constant had been the stellar play of Jim Golden. Entering the 1916 season, Golden had thrice led the league in victories but was known mainly as a hard-throwing workhorse who had yet to really reach his potential. In 1916 he finally put it all together with a season for the ages. And that made a big difference for the Dynamos.

Golden posted a 35-9 record with a 1.70 ERA, both career-bests. The wins topped the league while the ERA was fourth (and actually second on his own team). He also led the league with 211 strikeouts. The Dynamos also unleashed their first-round draft pick from 1912, big right-hander George Davis, who exceedingly all expectations with a great rookie season: 22-10, 1.65 with opposing hitters managing a league-low .231 average against him. Detroit won 95 games - 57 by their top two pitchers, no other pitcher on the staff with more than one decision had a winning record. The offense topped the league in runs scored as well, largely thanks to their outfield trio of RF Don Benford (.335-1-74), CF Manuel Zuniga (.290-1-66) and LF Bill Davis (.289-0-55) and 1B Danny James (.292-7-65).

The Chicago Chiefs made a rare appearance in the first division, finishing second with an 85-69 record after bottoming out at 56-98 just two years earlier and finishing seventh just a year earlier. Danny Wren posted the league's third-best ERA (1.68), Marty Jones was third in wins (25) and strikeouts (205) and the team overall allowed a league-low 429 runs. The Chiefs offense, however, still was a work in progress as they finished fifth in runs with 519. Boston was one game behind the Chiefs in third place at 84-70 with George Johnson again turning in a stellar season (31-11, 1.77 ERA, 207 Ks). Fred Huffman had an injury-plagued season, missing 50 games though he did hit .321 with 18 triples on the season (in 417 at-bats). The Gothams finished 81-73 in fourth to round out the first division with Ed Ziehl failing to win the batting title for just the first time in three years with a .314 average. He did however, pass the 2000-hit mark and drew a league-best 111 walks, his fifth straight season topping the league in free passes.

Fifth-place Pittsburgh finished under .500 at 74-79 but did have the league's batting champ in RF Joe Chain who hit .332. Washington finished sixth, Philadelphia seventh and St. Louis again finished in the basement.

The Continental pennant was a repeat performance for Montreal. The Saints used the same formula that had worked so well the year before with Charlie Firestone again providing stellar pitching (35-7, 1.88) and Joe Ward turning in an MVP-worthy performance (.328-2-81). His 81 RBIs tied Cleveland's Sam Leonhardt for the league lead. Hal Eason's 8 homes likewise was tied for the league lead (with Philadelphia Sailor Herb Fritsch). Firestone won the pitching Triple Crown and had passed Mike Marner in many fans' opinions as the best pitcher in baseball. The Saints 97-55 record put them 17.5 games up on their nearest competition and they led the race virtually wire-to-wire.

Second-place was a tie between two up-and-comers in Cleveland and Chicago, both posting 80-73 records. Cleveland had two-way star Max Morris who started 41 games as a pitcher and 57 more as the right fielder; Morris went 24-15 as a pitcher (with a 2.80 ERA) and hit .304 with 15 doubles, 10 triples and 7 homers in 355 at-bats. Chicago was still John Dibblee's team - the hard-hitting centerfielder turned in a .340 average and recorded 33 triples as he specialized in screaming line shots into the gaps. His .340 average was 2nd to Powell Slocum in the batting race. And speaking of Slocum, he hit .343 for another batting title (his 5th in a row and 9th overall) - and he passed the 2500 hit plateau as well. His team did not do as well however, finishing 79-73 in fourth place (though to be fair they were just a half-game out of second). Mike Marner won 29 games, but his 2.71 ERA was the highest of his career thus far.

The Sailors were fifth with a 75-79 record which represented a 16-win improvement over the 1915 season. John Burrell, a 1912 3rd-round pick now in his 2nd big league season, hit .325 and looked like a possible cornerstone player (he was just 23 years old). Philly also had a 23-year-old pitcher who was a 1914 3rd rounder who turned in a rookie season that included a 22-14 record with a 2.46 ERA. Sixth-place Toronto had Charlie Sis (29-14, 1.96) and not much else, finishing seventh in runs scored. Brooklyn and New York were separated by just a half-game at the bottom of the standings. Brooklyn made a splash by trading ace Danny Goff midseason to the New York Gothams for 1B Abe Loiacano. The deal was interesting due to lingering bad feelings between the Kings owners and the Bigsby family who now owned the Gothams.

The World Series went six games as the Detroit Dynamos proved too much for Montreal. Maybe the Saints were in a prolonged hangover from their 1915 title, or perhaps the relative ease with which they won the pennant left them overconfident, but they often looked outclassed during the series. Firestone and Golden split their two games with Golden winning game one and Firestone game four. The Saints did not have someone to offset George Davis, however and the rookie beat them twice, including the series-clinching sixth game. 

The 1916 Whitney Awards went to Jim Golden of Detroit and Montreal's Joe Ward, the second win for each of them.