The Peerless League's arrival on the baseball scene exploded the status quo creating a chaotic environment where the club owners had to be even more ruthless than usual. With their rosters gutted by defections to the new, higher-paying, league, both the Century League and Border Association were forced to make raids of their own on the minors (especially the Dixie and Western outfits) and salaries everywhere went up dramatically.

The impact of a third "major" league on the game the fans were paying to watch evolved over the summer. One thing became apparent early - the new guys had the best talent. But loyalty kept some significant portion of the public attending Century and Border games. Still... everyone was losing money.

The Century League retained few stars - Zebulon Banks being the primary star remaining (he was simply too stubborn to leave the Keystones... plus they paid him a ridiculous salary to stay on as player-manager). The batting champ was Boston's Charley Taylor, who hit .388 after being promoted from a never-used backup on the Washington Eagles. The second-place guy was someone plucked out of the Dixie League where he had been a .280 hitter: 31-year-old Billy Pittman hit .345 in his CL debut for the Cincinnati Hustlers. This was the trend throughout the Century League - new faces in prominent roles because the guys everyone knew were gone. 

St. Louis won the pennant with an 88-52 record, ten games better than the Chicago Chiefs, most of whose lineup had left for the Peerless League's Detroit club. Philadelphia, with Banks still on board (he hit .314 - the guy was nothing but a reliable hitter) was third at 77-63. Washington (76-64) rounded out the first division. New York managed a 75-65 record with a roster of minor leaguers while Boston was sixth with a respectable 72-68 record. Cincinnati was seventh and in last place was a Pittsburgh Miners roster that bore zero resemblance to the 1889 club and finished a dismal 28-112.

Things weren't any better in the Border Association. The Sailors rode to the pennant by virtue of losing fewer guys than anyone else. Montreal also rose from the basement for similar reasons and finished with their best record in ages. Brooklyn went 80-60, largely on the power of defiance at Miles Bigsby whose club played across Flatbush Avenue from them. The Monarchs were fourth followed by the new guys in Cleveland, the New York Stars whose attendance benefited from being on the west side, away from Bigsby Oval where the Gothams and Imperials fought for attendance. The Cougars finished seventh and last place was held down by the Toronto Provincials. 

The batting crown went to the Sailors George Smith, who hit .359 after hitting .330 the year before (and for the same club!).  Brooklyn's Joe Borden also stayed put and hit .343 to finish second in the batting race. 22-year-old Alex Cole was plucked off a town team in Ohio and led the league in ERA (1.79) and wins (27) for Philadelphia. 

The Peerless League had the star power - and they paid handsomely for it. The pennant winners were the Baltimore Clippers, who went 84-50. They were led by star Gustav Gray, who came over from Montreal and hit .377 to lead the league. Will Welles, a teenage sensation plucked from the clutches of the Atlanta club in the Dixie League led the league in ERA (1.79), wins (29) and strikeouts (262) for the Clippers. The New York Imperials finished second, with a lineup composed exclusively of members of the 1889 Gothams (including Lynwood Trease who hit .345), and led the league in runs scored. Detroit, who finished third, bore a striking resemblance to the 1889 Chicago Chiefs, and were led by Frank Sobreville (.356 - 2nd in the league). Jim Jenkins, a rare Detroit player who came from somewhere other than Chicago (he came from Cincinnati), topped the league in both home runs (14) and stolen bases - and was the first to hit the century mark in that category with a nice round 100 thefts. 

The Philadelphia Maroons were fourth, followed by Brooklyn. The Boston Brahmins finished sixth, but outdrew the Century League's Minutemen as did the Pittsburgh Hornets, who were slightly less terrible than the Miners and outdrew them. The last place team in the new league was, ironically, the one they stole outright: the Buffalo Buffaloes, who went 41-93. 

The fallout of the 1890 season was immediate and long lasting... More on that to come...