baseball encyclopedia Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A participant who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In nowadays without MLB, our employees 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 marvel of the world, and albeit, it’s superior to a few of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you will have the participant web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. Much of that joy is tied in with searching Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and enjoyable names and improbable accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, however in a time absent of precise video games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively even 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 information available than anybody has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, team, and season; for leagues ranging in talent degree throughout four continents; for each possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to rejoice the breadth of the positioning’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anyplace on the site. As befits this eighth wonder, we got weird—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply ready for the primary real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the vital distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever a player leads his league in a statistical category, the quantity on his page is displayed in bold. If he leads all of Main League Baseball, it’s each bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a participant’s page, with certain classes weighted to emphasise their importance, and publishes the participant’s score at the backside of his web page as a quick and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads speak about gamers with plenty of black ink, they go to favorites from the recent past, 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 could completely rake. If you already know something about Hornsby, apart from his profitable persona, it’s that his career batting average, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb general. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting common, OBP, and slugging percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes three times mixed, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, typically you simply desire a stats website to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst team in MLB historical past. They're also my favorite workforce in MLB history. (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 web page exhibits why.

The backstory right here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ owners additionally purchased 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 attempt to form a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly obvious on the page. One of many only indications of one thing strange comes at the top of the page, when B-Ref provides an choice to see the Spiders’ previous season but not their next. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of something strange is the info itself; B-Ref is, at the start, a treasure trove of data. For example, each team web page features a quick visual illustration of the game-by-game results. Green means a win, red means a loss, and the height of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Right here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 green bars and 134 pink.

Every web 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 file, and that the pitching workers as a whole completed 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 at the moment. Six gamers have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness on the plate. And so they highlight 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 enjoyable identify and a hilarious participant picture—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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