baseball pro Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A participant who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double examine. In lately with out MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to search out things that remind them of what makes the sport so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth surprise of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in spite of everything, when you've got the participant page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime residence run king of Japan?

One of the 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 browsing Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and fantastic accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, however in a time absent of actual games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively much 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 location has extra info accessible than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, group, and season; for leagues ranging in skill level throughout 4 continents; for each possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to have a good time the breadth of the positioning’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from wherever on the site. As befits this eighth marvel, we received weird—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just waiting for the primary real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Every time a player leads his league in a statistical category, the number on his web 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 participant’s page, with certain classes weighted to emphasise their significance, and publishes the participant’s rating at the bottom of his page as a fast and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads speak about gamers with a whole lot 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 a real asshole, God relaxation his soul, however he might completely rake. If you understand something about Hornsby, apart from his profitable persona, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb total. 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 year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes thrice mixed, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you just desire a stats web site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst staff in MLB historical past. They're additionally my favorite crew in MLB historical past. (I am keen on them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend bought me a vintage Spiders T-shirt as a birthday present.) And their Baseball-Reference page reveals why.

The backstory right 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 gamers—together with Cy Young and two different future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to kind a superteam. But that context isn’t immediately apparent on the page. One of many solely indications of something unusual comes at the prime of the web page, when B-Ref offers an option to see the Spiders’ earlier 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 information. As an example, every workforce page includes a quick visual illustration of the game-by-game results. 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 crimson.

Every page is crammed with storytelling statistics. So it’s simple to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but completed the season with a 4-30 file, and that the pitching employees as a whole finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t characteristic a single participant with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t almost as exact as it's at present. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure 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 group, too, with a fun identify and a hilarious player photograph—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—besides.

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