baseball dice game Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A participant who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double examine. In nowadays without MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to find things that remind them of what makes the sport so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and frankly, it’s superior to some of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in spite of everything, when you may have the player web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. Much of that joy is tied in with browsing Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and enjoyable names and incredible accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, however in a time absent of actual games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it turns into 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 location has extra info out there than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, group, and season; for leagues ranging in talent degree across 4 continents; for every possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to rejoice the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from wherever on the positioning. As befits this eighth surprise, 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 primary actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever 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 web page, with certain categories weighted to emphasize their significance, and publishes the participant’s score at the backside of his page as a quick and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads talk about players with plenty of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my private favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God rest his soul, however he may completely rake. If you recognize something about Hornsby, other than his profitable character, it’s that his career batting average, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely 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 percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes three times combined, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you simply desire a stats web site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

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

The backstory right here is that before the season, the Spiders’ house owners additionally purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—together with Cy Younger and two different future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to kind a superteam. However that context isn’t immediately apparent on the web page. One of the solely indications of something strange comes on the prime of the page, when B-Ref offers an choice to see the Spiders’ earlier season but not their subsequent. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of one thing unusual is the data itself; B-Ref is, in the beginning, a treasure trove of data. For example, each staff web page features a fast visible representation of the game-by-game results. Green means a win, purple means a loss, and the peak of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 inexperienced bars and 134 purple.

Every page is full of storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however finished the season with a 4-30 document, and that the pitching workers as a whole completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t characteristic a single participant with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as exact as it is at the moment. Six gamers have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure of their handedness on the plate. And they spotlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with players like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this group, too, with a fun title and a hilarious participant photo—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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