baseball computer picks Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A player who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In today without MLB, our workers 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 marvel 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 could have the participant page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime residence run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the web is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. Much of that pleasure is tied in with browsing Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and enjoyable names and incredible accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, but in a time absent of precise video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively much more central for followers: 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 out there than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, crew, and season; for leagues ranging in talent stage across four continents; for each attainable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to celebrate the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anywhere on the location. As befits this eighth wonder, we bought bizarre—and in so doing, discovered 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.” Every time a participant leads his league in a statistical class, the number on his 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 player’s page, with sure classes weighted to emphasize their significance, and publishes the participant’s score on the bottom of his web page as a fast and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads speak about gamers with a number of black ink, they go to favorites from the recent past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my private favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God rest his soul, but he may completely rake. If you already know something about Hornsby, other than his successful persona, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb overall. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting common, OBP, and slugging share (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories three times mixed, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, typically you simply want a stats site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

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

The backstory here is that before the season, the Spiders’ owners also purchased 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 form a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly obvious on the web page. One of many only indications of one thing strange comes on the high of the web 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 strange is the information itself; B-Ref is, before everything, a treasure trove of information. For example, every team page features a fast visual representation of the game-by-game results. 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 green bars and 134 purple.

Every page is crammed 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 document, and that the pitching staff as an entire 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 precise as it is as we speak. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness on the plate. They usually 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 identify and a hilarious player picture—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—as well.

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