baseball bat swing Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A participant who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In as of late without 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 great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth surprise of the world, and albeit, it’s superior to a number of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you will have the player web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling 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 searching Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and fun names and incredible accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, however in a time absent of actual video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively much more central for fans: Only the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the only new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already existing pages.

The site has extra data accessible than anybody has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, staff, and season; for leagues ranging in skill level across four continents; for each potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to celebrate the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our 5 favourite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from wherever on the location. As befits this eighth marvel, we acquired bizarre—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.

One of the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever a player leads his league in a statistical category, the quantity 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 classes weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the player’s score on the backside of his page as a quick and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads speak about players with a lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the current past, 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 relaxation his soul, but he may completely rake. If something about Hornsby, aside from his successful personality, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb general. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

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

The 1899 Spiders are the worst team in MLB history. They are additionally my favorite group in MLB history. (I adore them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend purchased me a vintage Spiders T-shirt as a birthday current.) And their Baseball-Reference web page exhibits 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—together with Cy Younger and two different future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to type a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly apparent on the page. One of many solely indications of something strange comes at the top of the web page, when B-Ref gives an option to see the Spiders’ earlier season but not their subsequent. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of one thing strange is the information itself; B-Ref is, before everything, a treasure trove of knowledge. For example, each group page features a fast visible representation of the game-by-game results. Green means a win, purple 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 crimson.

Every web 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 report, and that the pitching workers as an entire finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t characteristic a single player with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t nearly as exact as it's as we speak. Six gamers have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness on the plate. They usually highlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with players like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this crew, too, with a enjoyable name and a hilarious player photograph—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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