baseball clash 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 seek out issues 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 few of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you've the participant web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. Much of that pleasure is tied in with looking Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and unbelievable accomplishments and all of those 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 becomes counterintuitively much more central for followers: Only the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the only new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already present pages.

The site has extra info accessible than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, team, and season; for leagues ranging in talent level across 4 continents; for every doable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to have a good time the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anyplace on the location. As befits this eighth wonder, we bought weird—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply waiting for the first real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Probably the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever a player leads his league in a statistical class, the quantity on his page is displayed in bold. If he leads all of Main League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a participant’s web page, with sure categories weighted to emphasize their significance, and publishes the player’s rating at the bottom of his page as a fast and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads speak about gamers with a whole lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my personal favourite 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 realize anything about Hornsby, other than his winning personality, it’s that his profession batting average, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb total. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

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 classes 3 times mixed, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you just want a stats site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

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

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

The opposite indication of something strange is the information itself; B-Ref is, first and foremost, a treasure trove of information. For instance, every group web page features a quick visual 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 page is stuffed with storytelling statistics. So it’s easy to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but completed the season with a 4-30 record, 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 better.

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as exact as it is today. 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 gamers like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this group, too, with a fun identify and a hilarious participant photograph—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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