baseball field cake Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A participant who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In these days without MLB, our employees writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to find issues that remind them of what makes the game so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to some of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you have the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the web is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. Much of that pleasure is tied in with browsing Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and fun names and fantastic accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, however in a time absent of precise 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 existing pages.

The positioning has extra info obtainable than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, crew, and season; for leagues ranging in ability degree across 4 continents; for each potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to rejoice the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anyplace on the positioning. As befits this eighth marvel, we got bizarre—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply ready 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 category, the number 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 emphasize their importance, and publishes the participant’s rating at the backside of his page as a quick and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads talk about gamers with a number of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my personal favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God rest his soul, however he might absolutely rake. If anything about Hornsby, aside from his winning character, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb total. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

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

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

The backstory right here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ house owners also purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Younger and two different future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to kind a superteam. But that context isn’t immediately apparent on the web page. One of many solely indications of something unusual comes on the top of the page, when B-Ref gives an choice to see the Spiders’ previous season however not their subsequent. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of one thing unusual is the data itself; B-Ref is, at first, a treasure trove of knowledge. For instance, each workforce page features a quick visual illustration of the game-by-game results. Green means a win, crimson 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 red.

Every page is filled with storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but completed the season with a 4-30 document, and that the pitching workers as a whole completed 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 almost as precise as it's today. Six gamers have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness at the plate. And so they highlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with players like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this team, too, with a enjoyable title and a hilarious participant picture—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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