There wasn't a lot of drama to be found in the pennant races in 1895 - the New York Gothams and Chicago Cougars both came out fast, stayed that way, and powered their way to pennants in their respective leagues. There was some excitement to be found outside the standings, however. A pair of hitters who shared a last name but weren't related had terrific seasons. Last season's big story was a story for another reason this time around. And the grand old man of baseball reached a milestone that was hardly acknowledged at the time but has since become known as one of the primary yardsticks by which greatness is measured.

Not too long ago pitchers had begun to gain the upper-hand on batters. New pitches - especially the curveball - gave the hurlers an edge, and offense bottomed out in 1892 when the brand-new FABL collectively hit .249 and only five hitters topped the .330 mark, led by a young centerfielder in Philadelphia named Fred Roby, who hit .360 for the Keystones.

The next year, things began swinging the other way and hitters - led by Roby's team mate (catcher Claude Jones who hit .370) brought that league-wide average up twenty points. In 1894, Roby put together the best season by a hitter in the not-quite-two-decade-old history of professional baseball.