1963 topps baseball cards Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Examine. A participant who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In lately without MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to find issues that remind them of what makes the sport so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and frankly, it’s superior to a few of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you've gotten the player web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime home run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the web is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. A lot of that joy is tied in with browsing Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and enjoyable names and implausible accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, however in a time absent of actual video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively even more central for followers: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the only new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already current pages.

The location has more info out there than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, group, and season; for leagues ranging in skill degree throughout 4 continents; for each attainable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to have fun the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anywhere on the site. As befits this eighth surprise, we obtained bizarre—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just ready for the first real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

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

When most statheads discuss gamers with a whole lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my private favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God relaxation his soul, but he may absolutely rake. If you recognize anything about Hornsby, other than his winning character, it’s that his career batting average, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb overall. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting common, OBP, and slugging proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories three times mixed, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, typically you just need a stats site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst group in MLB history. They're also my favourite group in MLB historical past. (I like them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend purchased me a classic Spiders T-shirt as a birthday present.) And their Baseball-Reference page exhibits why.

The backstory here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ house owners also purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Young and two other future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to try to kind a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly apparent on the web page. One of the only indications of something unusual comes at the top of the web page, when B-Ref provides an option to see the Spiders’ previous season but not their next. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of one thing strange is the info itself; B-Ref is, at first, a treasure trove of information. As an example, each staff page features a quick visible illustration of the game-by-game results. Inexperienced means a win, crimson 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 purple.

Every web page is full of storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but completed the season with a 4-30 document, 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 higher.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t nearly as exact as it is as we speak. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness on the plate. And so they highlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with gamers like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this crew, too, with a enjoyable identify and a hilarious player picture—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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