14+ Baseball Theater
baseball theater Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A player who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double examine. In today without MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to search out things that remind them of what makes the game 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 needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you've the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling run king of Japan?
One of many qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the web is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. Much of that pleasure is tied in with searching Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and implausible accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, however in a time absent of precise video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively even more central for fans: Only 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 information obtainable than anybody has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, group, and season; for leagues ranging in talent level throughout 4 continents; for every attainable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to rejoice the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anywhere on the positioning. As befits this eighth wonder, we acquired weird—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.
One of the crucial 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 Main League Baseball, it’s each bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a participant’s web page, with certain categories weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the participant’s score at the backside of his page as a fast and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.
When most statheads talk about gamers with numerous black ink, they go to favorites from the latest past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my personal favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God rest his soul, but he may completely rake. If you recognize something about Hornsby, apart from his successful personality, it’s that his profession batting average, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb general. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.
That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting average, OBP, and slugging proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes three times combined, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you just need a stats site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.
The 1899 Spiders are the worst group in MLB history. They are also my favorite group in MLB historical past. (I adore them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend purchased me a classic Spiders T-shirt as a birthday present.) And their Baseball-Reference page reveals why.
The backstory right here is that before the season, the Spiders’ owners additionally bought 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 try to form a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly apparent on the page. One of the solely indications of something strange comes at the high of the 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 something unusual is the data itself; B-Ref is, at the beginning, a treasure trove of information. For example, every group page includes a quick visible representation 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. Right here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 inexperienced bars and 134 crimson.
Each page is crammed 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 file, and that the pitching workers as a complete finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t characteristic a single participant with a league-average mark or higher.
The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t almost as exact as it's immediately. Six players have a “?” next 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 team, too, with a fun title and a hilarious player photo—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.