baseball jersey font Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A participant who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In as of late with out MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to search out issues that remind them of what makes the sport so nice.

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

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. Much of that pleasure is tied in with looking Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and implausible accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, however in a time absent of actual games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively much more central for fans: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the only new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already present pages.

The positioning has more information out there than anybody has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, team, and season; for leagues ranging in skill degree across four continents; for every doable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to have fun the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our 5 favourite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anyplace on the positioning. As befits this eighth wonder, we acquired bizarre—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just ready for the primary actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Probably the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Every time 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 both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a participant’s web page, with certain classes weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the player’s rating 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 loads of black ink, they go to favorites from the current previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my private favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God relaxation his soul, but he might absolutely rake. If you understand something about Hornsby, other than his winning character, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb general. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting common, OBP, and slugging percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories thrice mixed, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you just want a stats website to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst group in MLB historical past. They are also my favourite 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’ owners additionally bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Young and two different future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to try to form a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly obvious on the page. One of many only indications of one thing unusual comes at the prime of the page, when B-Ref offers an choice to see the Spiders’ previous season however not their next. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of one thing unusual is the information itself; B-Ref is, at the beginning, a treasure trove of data. As an illustration, every staff web page includes a quick visual representation of the game-by-game outcomes. Green means a win, crimson means a loss, and the peak of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Right here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 inexperienced bars and 134 purple.

Each web page is full of storytelling statistics. So it’s easy to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however finished the season with a 4-30 document, and that the pitching employees as an entire finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t function a single player with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as exact as it is right this moment. Six players have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness at the plate. And so they spotlight 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 player picture—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—as well.

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