big south baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A player who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double examine. In today without MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to find things that remind them of what makes the sport so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth marvel of the world, and albeit, it’s superior to some of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in spite of everything, when you will have the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime home run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. A lot of that joy is tied in with searching Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and unbelievable accomplishments and all of these 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 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 existing pages.

The positioning has extra data accessible than anybody has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, crew, and season; for leagues ranging in talent level across 4 continents; for each doable 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 favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anywhere on the site. As befits this eighth surprise, we obtained weird—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just waiting for the first actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Each time a participant leads his league in a statistical class, the quantity on his web 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 participant’s page, with sure categories weighted to emphasise their significance, and publishes the participant’s rating at the bottom of his web page as a quick and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads talk about gamers with a number of black ink, they go to favorites from the current past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my personal favourite 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 recognize anything about Hornsby, apart from his successful persona, it’s that his career batting average, .358, is the best 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 year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories 3 times combined, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you simply need a stats site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst staff in MLB history. They're additionally my favourite team in MLB historical past. (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 shows why.

The backstory right here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ house owners also purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Young and two different future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to kind a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly apparent on the page. One of many only indications of one thing strange comes on the top of the web page, when B-Ref offers an choice to see the Spiders’ earlier season but 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, initially, a treasure trove of knowledge. As an illustration, every team page features a fast visible representation of the game-by-game outcomes. Green means a win, purple means a loss, and the height of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 inexperienced bars and 134 red.

Every web page is full of storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but completed the season with a 4-30 document, and that the pitching staff as an entire finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t function a single player with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t nearly as precise as it's right now. Six gamers 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 group, too, with a fun title and a hilarious player photograph—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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