The Reds were coming off a successful season in 1898, earning a third place finish with a 92–60 record. However, they once again faded down the stretch, as the team was in first place in the first week of September before slumping for the remainder of the season.
Once again, Jake Beckley had a very solid offensive season, batting .333 with three home runs and 99 RBI, all team highs. Kip Selbach was also very solid, batting .297 with three home runs and 87 RBI, as well as scoring a team high 105 runs.
On the mound, Hahn was the ace, earning a 23–8 record with a 2.68 ERA in his rookie season. Hahn pitched a team high 309 innings, and struck out 145 batters. Phillips was also very solid, going 17–9 with a 3.32 ERA in 33 games.
Cincinnati started the season off on the right foot, going 14–7 in their opening twenty-one games, only 1.5 games out of first. However, a 7–15 mark over their next twenty-two games saw the team fall under the .500 level with a 24–25 record, sitting in seventh place, 14.5 games behind the Brooklyn Superbas. The team would remain around the .500 mark, as they were 40–41, before going on a franchise record fourteen-game winning streak. Cincinnati's record improved to 54–41, however, they still remained in fifth place, eight games behind Brooklyn. The Reds then lost six of their next seven games to fall into sixth place, 12.5 games out. At the end of the season, Cincinnati was a sixth place team with an 83–67 record, 19 games behind Brooklyn.