baseball card hobby box Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A participant who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In these days without MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to seek out issues that remind them of what makes the sport so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you could have the participant page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime home run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the web is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. 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 these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, but in a time absent of precise games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively much more central for fans: Only the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already current pages.

The positioning has more info accessible than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, team, and season; for leagues ranging in talent degree across 4 continents; for each potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to have a good time the breadth of the positioning’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anyplace on the location. As befits this eighth wonder, 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 distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever a participant leads his league in a statistical category, the quantity on his page is displayed in daring. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s web page, with certain categories weighted to emphasise their importance, and publishes the player’s rating at the backside of his web page as a quick and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads speak about gamers with lots of black ink, they go to favorites from the current past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my personal favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God relaxation his soul, but he could absolutely rake. If you already know anything about Hornsby, other than his winning character, it’s that his profession batting average, .358, is the highest 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 average, OBP, and slugging proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes 3 times combined, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you just want a stats site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst crew in MLB historical past. They are also my favourite workforce in MLB historical past. (I am keen on 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 page shows why.

The backstory right 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 players—including Cy Younger 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 page. One of the solely indications of something strange comes on the high of the web page, when B-Ref offers 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 one thing unusual is the data itself; B-Ref is, at first, a treasure trove of data. As an illustration, each staff web page includes a fast visible representation of the game-by-game results. Green means a win, pink means a loss, and the peak of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Right here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 green bars and 134 red.

Every page is full of 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 function a single player with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as precise as it is in the present day. Six players have a “?” next 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 staff, too, with a fun title and a hilarious participant photo—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—besides.

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