1957 topps baseball cards Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A participant who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In nowadays with out MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to search out things that remind them of what makes the sport so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth marvel of the world, and albeit, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you've got the participant web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. A lot of that pleasure is tied in with looking Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and enjoyable names and improbable accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, however in a time absent of precise video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively even more central for followers: Only the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already existing pages.

The positioning has more info accessible than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, crew, and season; for leagues ranging in ability stage across four continents; for every possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to celebrate the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from wherever on the site. As befits this eighth marvel, we received weird—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply waiting for the primary real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the crucial distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Each time a participant leads his league in a statistical category, the number on his page is displayed in bold. If he leads all of Main League Baseball, it’s each bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a participant’s web page, with certain categories weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the player’s score on the bottom of his page as a quick and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads speak about gamers with loads of black ink, they go to favorites from the recent previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my private favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God relaxation his soul, but he may completely rake. If you know anything about Hornsby, apart from his profitable personality, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the best ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb overall. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting common, OBP, and slugging share (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes three times combined, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you simply desire a stats website to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst group in MLB historical past. They are also my favourite workforce in MLB history. (I adore them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend bought me a classic Spiders T-shirt as a birthday present.) And their Baseball-Reference page shows why.

The backstory right here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ owners also bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—including Cy Young and two other future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to try to kind a superteam. But that context isn’t immediately obvious on the page. One of many only indications of something unusual comes at the high of the web page, when B-Ref provides an choice to see the Spiders’ earlier season however not their subsequent. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of one thing strange is the data itself; B-Ref is, at the start, a treasure trove of knowledge. As an illustration, every crew page includes a fast visible illustration of the game-by-game results. Green means a win, red means a loss, and the height of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 green bars and 134 pink.

Every page is stuffed with storytelling statistics. So it’s easy to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however finished the season with a 4-30 record, and that the pitching staff as a whole completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t characteristic a single player with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t nearly as precise as it is today. Six players have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure of their handedness at the plate. They usually highlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with gamers like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this workforce, too, with a enjoyable title and a hilarious participant picture—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—besides.

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