baseball globe Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A player who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In these days without MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to find issues that remind them of what makes the game so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to some of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you have got the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime residence run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the web is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. Much of that joy is tied in with looking Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and implausible accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, however in a time absent of precise video 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 one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already present pages.

The site has extra information obtainable than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, team, and season; for leagues ranging in skill degree throughout 4 continents; for every potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to have a good time the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our 5 favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anywhere on the positioning. As befits this eighth surprise, we bought weird—and in so doing, discovered 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 vital 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 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 sure categories weighted to emphasize their significance, and publishes the player’s score on the backside of his page as a fast and soiled 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 recent past, 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 relaxation his soul, but he could absolutely rake. If you understand anything about Hornsby, apart from his winning persona, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the 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 National League in batting common, OBP, and slugging share (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes 3 times combined, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you simply want a stats site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst crew in MLB history. They're additionally my favourite workforce in MLB historical past. (I like them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend purchased me a vintage Spiders T-shirt as a birthday present.) And their Baseball-Reference page exhibits why.

The backstory 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—including Cy Younger and two different future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to type a superteam. However that context isn’t immediately apparent on the web page. One of many solely indications of something unusual comes at the top of the page, when B-Ref gives an option to see the Spiders’ previous season but not their next. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of something unusual is the information itself; B-Ref is, at the start, a treasure trove of knowledge. As an illustration, each group web page features a quick visual illustration of the game-by-game results. Inexperienced 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 green bars and 134 pink.

Every page is stuffed with storytelling statistics. So it’s simple to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but finished the season with a 4-30 file, and that the pitching workers 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 nearly as exact as it is right now. Six players have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness at the plate. They usually 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 title and a hilarious participant photo—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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