The National League pennant race essentially ended on April 23, when John McGraw’s defending champion New York Giants took over first place for good. The Giants ended up winning 105 games, en route to finishing nine games ahead of second-place Pittsburgh and 13 games in front of third-place Chicago. Led by Ed Reulbach and Mordecai Brown, the Cubs boasted the senior circuit’s best pitching staff – one that featured four of the top five finishers in earned run average. However, the pennant-winning Giants had the league’s top hurler in Christy Mathewson, who captured the Triple Crown by leading the league with a record of 31-9, a 1.28 ERA, and 206 strikeouts. He also topped the circuit with eight shutouts, and he placed third with 338 innings pitched. Mathewson received a considerable amount of help from fellow Giant hurlers Joe McGinnity and Red Ames, and from Mike Donlin, who placed among the league leaders with a .356 batting average.
Cincinnati outfielder Cy Seymour was the league’s top batsman, coming within one home run of winning the Triple Crown. In addition to finishing second in the senior circuit with eight home runs, Seymour led the league with a .377 batting average, 121 runs batted in, 219 hits, 21 triples, 40 doubles, 325 total bases, and a .559 slugging percentage.
Not surprisingly, the 1905 World Series was the best-pitched Series ever. All five games were shutouts and the loser, Philadelphia, posted a team ERA of 1.47. Christy Mathewson simply proved to be too much for the A’s, throwing three shutouts and allowing only 15 men to reach base in his 27 innings of work. New York’s five-game victory gave John McGraw his first true “world championship.”
Other outstanding performances and notable events from around the league follow:
• New York's Roger Bresnahan experimented with the first "batting helmet" after being beaned.
• The Boston Beaneaters’ pitching staff included a record four 20-game losers. Future Hall of Famer Vic Willis lost a 20th-century record 29 games for the Beaneaters.
• Christy Mathewson became the first 20th century hurler to pitch two no-hitters, blanking Chicago on June 13.
• The Chicago Cubs posted a new National League record 2.04 team ERA and allowed their opponents a total of only 442 runs.
• On April 26, Jack McCarthy of the Cubs made a record three double plays by an outfielder.
• John McGraw was suspended for 15 days and fined $150 by the National League for abusing umpires.
• Irv Young of the Beaneaters established modern major league rookie records by starting 41 games, completing all his starts, and throwing 378 innings.
• Chicago Cubs first baseman Frank Chance was hit by pitches a record five times in a Decoration Day doubleheader.
- 1905 World Series, Christy Mathewson, Cy Seymour, Ed Reulbach, Frank Chance, Irv Young, Jack McCarthy, Joe McGinnity, John McGraw, Mike Donlin, Mordecai Brown, New York Giants, Red Ames, Roger Bresnahan, Vic Willis