Carpenter had a break out season, as he led the AA with 67 RBI and 120 hits, and led the Red Stockings with a .342 batting average. Snyder hit .291 with a homer and 50 RBI, while Joe Sommer hit .288 with a homer, 29 RBI and a team high 82 runs, while leading the league with 354 at-bats. On the mound, White returned to his 1879 form, as he led the AA with 40 wins, while posting a 1.54 ERA in 480 innings pitched.
The Red Stockings lost their first ever game, as the Pittsburg Alleghenys defeated Cincinnati 10–9 at Bank Street Grounds. The team hovered around the .500 level, as they had a record of 8–9 record in their first seventeen games, sitting in fourth place. The Red Stockings then would go on a ten-game winning streak, and rise up to first place in the American Association. Cincinnati would stay red hot for the rest of the season, finishing with a 55–25 record and win the American Association pennant, 11.5 games ahead of the second place Philadelphia Athletics.