baseball cross Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Examine. A participant who may 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 search out issues that remind them of what makes the game so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth surprise of the world, and frankly, it’s superior to a number of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you have the participant page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. Much of that pleasure is tied in with searching Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and fantastic 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 followers: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already current pages.

The site has extra data accessible than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, group, and season; for leagues ranging in skill level throughout 4 continents; for each doable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to celebrate the breadth of the positioning’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anyplace on the location. As befits this eighth marvel, we bought bizarre—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just ready for the first actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Some of the distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Each time a participant leads his league in a statistical class, 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 categories weighted to emphasise their significance, and publishes the player’s rating on the backside of his page as a fast and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads speak about gamers with loads of black ink, they go to favorites from the recent previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my personal favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God rest his soul, but he may completely rake. If you recognize anything 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 general. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes 3 times mixed, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, typically you simply desire a stats web site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst workforce in MLB historical past. They are additionally my favourite staff in MLB history. (I am keen on 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 exhibits why.

The backstory here is that before 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 other future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to try to form a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly obvious on the page. One of the solely indications of one thing strange comes on the top of the web page, when B-Ref offers an choice to see the Spiders’ previous season but not their subsequent. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of something strange is the data itself; B-Ref is, firstly, a treasure trove of knowledge. For instance, each workforce page features a fast visual representation of the game-by-game results. Inexperienced means a win, crimson 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 purple.

Each web page is filled with storytelling statistics. So it’s simple to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however completed the season with a 4-30 report, and that the pitching employees as a complete completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t feature a single participant with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t almost as exact as it's at present. Six players have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness at 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 workforce, too, with a fun identify and a hilarious player photo—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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