baseball general manager Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Examine. A participant who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In lately without MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full 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 wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you might have the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. A lot of that pleasure is tied in with shopping Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and enjoyable names and fantastic accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, however in a time absent of precise games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively much more central for followers: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the only new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already current pages.

The site has extra info obtainable than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, group, and season; for leagues ranging in ability stage throughout 4 continents; for each potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to rejoice the breadth of the positioning’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our 5 favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from wherever on the location. As befits this eighth wonder, we acquired weird—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just ready for the primary real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the crucial distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” At any time when a player leads his league in a statistical category, 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 certain classes weighted to emphasise their importance, and publishes the participant’s score at the backside of his page as a fast and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads talk about players with loads of black ink, they go to favorites from the recent previous, 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, however he could absolutely rake. If you understand anything about Hornsby, other than his successful persona, it’s that his career batting average, .358, is the highest 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 common, OBP, and slugging proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes thrice combined, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, typically you simply desire a stats web site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst crew in MLB history. They're also my favorite group in MLB historical past. (I like 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 here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ house owners additionally bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—together with Cy Young and two different future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to type a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly obvious on the page. One of the only indications of one thing unusual comes on the high of the page, when B-Ref gives an option to see the Spiders’ earlier season but not their next. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of something strange is the info itself; B-Ref is, firstly, a treasure trove of information. As an example, every team web page includes a quick visible illustration of the game-by-game outcomes. 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 inexperienced bars and 134 crimson.

Each page is crammed with storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but finished the season with a 4-30 record, and that the pitching staff as a complete finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t feature a single player with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t almost as precise as it's immediately. Six players have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure of their handedness at 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 workforce, too, with a enjoyable title and a hilarious participant photograph—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—besides.

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