arizona baseball coach Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A participant who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double examine. In as of late without MLB, our employees writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to find 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 a few of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you've the participant web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime residence run king of Japan?

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

The positioning has more data out there than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, crew, and season; for leagues ranging in skill level throughout four continents; for every possible 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, selecting our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anyplace on the location. As befits this eighth surprise, we got weird—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply waiting for the first actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the crucial distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Every time a player leads his league in a statistical class, the number on his web page is displayed in daring. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s each bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s page, with sure categories weighted to emphasise their significance, and publishes the player’s score at the backside of his web page as a quick and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads talk about gamers with plenty 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 an actual asshole, God rest his soul, but he could completely rake. If you understand anything about Hornsby, other than his winning personality, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb general. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

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

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

The backstory here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ house owners additionally bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—together with Cy Young and two other future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to form a superteam. However that context isn’t immediately apparent on the page. One of the only indications of one thing unusual comes at the prime of the page, when B-Ref provides an choice to see the Spiders’ earlier season however not their subsequent. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of something unusual is the data itself; B-Ref is, in the beginning, a treasure trove of information. For example, each crew page features a fast visual representation of the game-by-game outcomes. Green 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 inexperienced bars and 134 purple.

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

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as exact as it is at this time. Six gamers have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure of their handedness on the plate. And so they spotlight 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 fun name and a hilarious player photograph—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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