baseball pitching gloves Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A player who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In these days with out 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 sport so nice.

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

One of many 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 looking Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and fun names and implausible accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, but in a time absent of precise video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it becomes 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 location has more information available than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, team, and season; for leagues ranging in ability level throughout 4 continents; for each doable 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, choosing our 5 favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anywhere on the location. As befits this eighth marvel, we received bizarre—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply ready for the first real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Some of the 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 bold. 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 sure categories weighted to emphasize their significance, and publishes the player’s rating at the bottom of his page as a fast and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads discuss players with a variety of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my personal favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God relaxation his soul, but he may completely rake. If you recognize 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 total. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting average, OBP, and slugging share (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories thrice combined, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, typically you simply need a stats web site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst crew in MLB historical past. They're additionally my favorite crew in MLB history. (I adore 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 right here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ homeowners also purchased 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 try to form a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly apparent on the page. One of the solely indications of something strange comes on the prime of the web 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 other indication of one thing unusual is the info itself; B-Ref is, first and foremost, a treasure trove of knowledge. For instance, each team web page includes a fast visible representation of the game-by-game outcomes. Inexperienced means a win, red means a loss, and the peak of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 green bars and 134 red.

Every web page is full of storytelling statistics. So it’s easy to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however completed the season with a 4-30 file, and that the pitching staff as a whole finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t feature a single participant with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as precise as it is right now. Six players have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness on the plate. They usually 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 title and a hilarious player picture—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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