baseball pitchback Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Examine. A participant who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double examine. In as of late with out MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to seek out things that remind them of what makes the sport 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 spite of everything, when you've the player web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. Much of that pleasure is tied in with shopping 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 games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively even more central for fans: Only the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already present pages.

The positioning has more information available than anybody has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for every participant, crew, and season; for leagues ranging in ability level throughout four continents; for each possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to celebrate the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anyplace on the location. As befits this eighth marvel, we acquired bizarre—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply waiting for the first actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Probably the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Every time a participant leads his league in a statistical class, the quantity on his page is displayed in bold. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s web page, with certain categories weighted to emphasise their significance, and publishes the participant’s rating on the backside of his web page as a fast and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads speak about players with a number of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my private favorite 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 recognize anything about Hornsby, other than his successful persona, it’s that his profession batting average, .358, is the best 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 Nationwide League in batting common, OBP, and slugging percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories thrice mixed, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you simply need a stats website to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst crew in MLB historical past. They're also my favorite team 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 current.) And their Baseball-Reference page exhibits why.

The backstory here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ house owners additionally purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Young and two different future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to form a superteam. But that context isn’t immediately obvious on the page. One of many solely indications of something strange comes on the high of the page, when B-Ref provides an option to see the Spiders’ earlier season however not their subsequent. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of one thing unusual is the data itself; B-Ref is, at the start, a treasure trove of data. For instance, every staff web page includes a fast visual illustration of the game-by-game outcomes. Inexperienced means a win, purple 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.

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

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t nearly as precise as it is immediately. Six players 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 players like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this crew, too, with a fun name and a hilarious player picture—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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