Those who may have wondered if the Century League would be yet another in a series of failed baseball leagues received their answer in 1877. Though staggered by the loss of two of its western outlets in Cincinnati and St. Louis, the league soldiered on and turned in a good and competitive second campaign.

The league's two weakest clubs in '76 were much improved in their sophomore campaigns. Both Detroit and New York rose from the bottom two spots and came close to claiming the pennant. What stood in their way was the fourth-place finisher of the season before - Chicago. 

For 1878 the Century League returned the same six clubs it had the previous year. The results however, could not have been different. Embarrassed and angry after a dismal season in 1877, Miles Bigsby opened his wallet and remade his Brooklyn Unions. And it worked.

The Milwaukee Brickers did not last one full calendar year as Century Leaguers before declaring bankruptcy. The void was promptly filled by the Baltimore Banner club, named for their club's owner and referred to in the newspapers as the Bannermen.

As the 1880 season progressed, one issue grew increasingly apparent in the Century League. Through the first five years of league play, players had moved in and out of the league (mostly out), joining - or leaving - the many barnstorming teams that were dotted across much of the eastern half of the country. For League President William Whitney, this was something that would need to be handled in the near future. This process of "rotating" by the players was bad for business as the followers of the clubs could not rely on seeing their favorite players next season.

For 1879, William Whitney was determined to find two new clubs for the Century League; the goal was to have eight teams in the loop and the desertions of Cincinnati and St. Louis had meant playing the 1878 season with six. Though both Cincinnati and St. Louis were still intact and playing independently of the Century League, Whitney did not approach either of them but looked for other quality independent clubs. He found two - and though neither was good enough to actually challenge for the pennant, both finished ahead of two of the existing clubs in their first season.

The New York Knights, and their larger-than-life owner Charles Bigsby, were no longer around. The younger Bigsby (Miles), still ran the show in Brooklyn but for the first time in the short history of the Century League there would be no club playing in the nation's largest city. Filling the void in the lineup were the Providence Gems - a solid touring performer playing in what would be the league's smallest city.