chicken little baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A participant who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In lately without MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to seek out issues that remind them of what makes the game so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth marvel of the world, and albeit, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you may have the player web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime home run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s corner 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 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 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 positioning has more data accessible than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, staff, and season; for leagues ranging in talent stage across 4 continents; for each 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, choosing our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anyplace on the site. As befits this eighth marvel, we bought weird—and in so doing, found 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 crucial distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Every time a player leads his league in a statistical class, the quantity on his page is displayed in daring. If he leads all of Main League Baseball, it’s each bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s page, with certain categories weighted to emphasize their significance, 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 speak about gamers with loads 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, however he may absolutely rake. If you know anything about Hornsby, aside from his winning character, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb total. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting average, OBP, and slugging proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories 3 times combined, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you just need a stats website to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst crew in MLB history. They're also my favorite workforce 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 page shows 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—together with Cy Young and two other future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to try to form a superteam. However that context isn’t immediately apparent on the web page. One of many only indications of one thing strange comes on the top of the web 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 opposite indication of one thing strange is the information itself; B-Ref is, in the beginning, a treasure trove of knowledge. As an illustration, each workforce web page includes a fast visual illustration 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 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 report, and that the pitching staff as an entire completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t function a single player with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as precise as it's right this moment. Six gamers have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness at 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 workforce, too, with a fun name and a hilarious player photograph—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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