In 1882 he led the American Association in runs (86), doubles (18), and total bases (159). He was the league batting champion in 1883 with a .357 average. Swartwood finished in the top in many offensive categories throughout his career, including batting average (three times), slugging percentage (three times), on base percentage (five times), and bases on balls (six times).
Career totals for 724 games played include 861 hits, 14 home runs, 607 runs scored, and a batting average of .299. After his playing career was over, Swartwood became an umpire. He umpired in the Majors in and then from through , totaling 429 games.
Swartwood died at the age of 65 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is interred at Union Dale Cemetery in that town.