baseball podcast Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A participant who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In today without MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to find 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 a number of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you've gotten the player web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime home run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the web is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. A lot of that pleasure is tied in with looking Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and enjoyable names and improbable accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, but in a time absent of actual video games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it turns into 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 site has extra data out there than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, crew, and season; for leagues ranging in skill stage throughout 4 continents; for each potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to have fun the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from wherever on the positioning. As befits this eighth marvel, we obtained bizarre—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply waiting for the first real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the 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 daring. 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 classes weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the participant’s score on the bottom of his page as a quick and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads discuss players with quite a lot 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, but he might absolutely rake. If you know something about Hornsby, aside from his successful persona, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb overall. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting common, OBP, and slugging proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories three times mixed, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you just want a stats site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst workforce in MLB historical past. They're also my favorite group in MLB history. (I am keen on 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 web page exhibits why.

The backstory right here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ homeowners additionally bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—including Cy Young and two different future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to try to form a superteam. But that context isn’t immediately apparent on the web page. One of many only indications of something unusual comes on the prime of the page, when B-Ref provides an choice to see the Spiders’ earlier season however not their subsequent. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of one thing strange is the info itself; B-Ref is, firstly, a treasure trove of data. As an illustration, every staff web page features a quick visual illustration of the game-by-game outcomes. Inexperienced means a win, pink 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 purple.

Every web page is stuffed 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 file, and that the pitching workers as an entire finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t function a single player with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t nearly as exact as it is at the moment. Six gamers have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness at the plate. They usually spotlight 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 photo—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—as well.

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