baseball ring holder Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A participant who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double examine. In these days with out MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to seek out things that remind them of what makes the game so great.

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 could have the participant web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime residence run king of Japan?

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

The site has extra data obtainable than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, group, and season; for leagues ranging in skill stage across four 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, picking our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anywhere on the location. As befits this eighth wonder, we acquired weird—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just ready for the first real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the vital distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever a player leads his league in a statistical class, 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 player’s score at the bottom of his page as a quick and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads speak about gamers with a variety of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my personal favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God relaxation his soul, however he might completely rake. If you know anything about Hornsby, other than his profitable character, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb total. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

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

The 1899 Spiders are the worst workforce in MLB historical past. They are additionally my favourite team in MLB history. (I like them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend bought me a classic Spiders T-shirt as a birthday current.) And their Baseball-Reference web page reveals why.

The backstory right here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ house owners also bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Younger and two different future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to type a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly obvious on the web page. One of many solely indications of one thing strange comes at the high of the web page, when B-Ref gives an option to see the Spiders’ previous season but not their next. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of one thing strange is the info itself; B-Ref is, at the beginning, a treasure trove of knowledge. For example, each workforce web page features a quick visible representation of the game-by-game outcomes. Green means a win, crimson means a loss, and the height of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Right here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 inexperienced bars and 134 crimson.

Every web page is stuffed with storytelling statistics. So it’s easy to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however finished the season with a 4-30 report, and that the pitching staff as a complete completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t characteristic 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 exact as it is at this time. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness at the plate. And so they spotlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with gamers like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this team, too, with a fun name and a hilarious player photograph—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—as well.

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