2020 chronicles baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A participant who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In today without MLB, our staff 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 great.

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

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the web is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. Much of that pleasure is tied in with browsing Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and unbelievable accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, however in a time absent of actual games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively much more central for followers: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already current pages.

The location has more info obtainable than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, workforce, and season; for leagues ranging in ability degree throughout 4 continents; for every doable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to rejoice the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anywhere on the site. As befits this eighth surprise, we obtained weird—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply ready for the primary real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Some of the distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” At any time when a participant leads his league in a statistical category, the number on his web page is displayed in bold. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a participant’s page, with sure categories weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the participant’s score on the backside of his page as a quick and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads speak about players with a variety of black ink, they go to favorites from the recent previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my personal favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God rest his soul, but he might absolutely rake. If you already know something about Hornsby, aside from his winning personality, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the 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 Nationwide League in batting common, OBP, and slugging percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes three times mixed, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you simply want a stats web site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst group in MLB historical past. They are additionally my favorite workforce in MLB history. (I adore them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend bought me a vintage Spiders T-shirt as a birthday current.) And their Baseball-Reference web page exhibits why.

The backstory here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ homeowners additionally purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—together with Cy Young and two different future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to form a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly obvious on the web page. One of the solely indications of something strange comes on the prime of the web page, when B-Ref provides an option to see the Spiders’ earlier season however not their subsequent. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of one thing unusual is the data itself; B-Ref is, first and foremost, a treasure trove of information. As an example, every group web page includes a fast visible illustration of the game-by-game results. Inexperienced means a win, pink means a loss, and the height of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Right here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 inexperienced bars and 134 red.

Every web page is full of storytelling statistics. So it’s easy to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however completed the season with a 4-30 document, and that the pitching employees as a complete completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t function a single player with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t almost as precise as it's at the moment. Six gamers have a “?” next 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 staff, too, with a fun identify and a hilarious participant photo—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—besides.

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