custom baseball helmets Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A participant who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In nowadays with out MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to find issues that remind them of what makes the sport so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth marvel of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to some of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you have the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling 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 browsing Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and enjoyable names and implausible accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, however in a time absent of actual games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively much more central for fans: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already existing pages.

The site has extra data obtainable than anybody has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, team, and season; for leagues ranging in skill stage throughout four continents; for every attainable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to celebrate the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anywhere on the site. As befits this eighth wonder, we got weird—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just waiting for the first real 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 bold. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s web page, with certain classes weighted to emphasise their importance, and publishes the player’s rating on the bottom of his web page as a fast and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads talk about gamers with a variety of black ink, they go to favorites from the current past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my private favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God relaxation his soul, but he might completely rake. If you already know anything about Hornsby, aside from his profitable persona, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb overall. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting average, OBP, and slugging share (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes 3 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 desire a stats web site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst staff in MLB history. They are additionally my favorite staff 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 current.) And their Baseball-Reference web page shows why.

The backstory here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ homeowners also bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—including Cy Younger and two other future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to try to form a superteam. However that context isn’t immediately apparent on the page. One of many solely indications of one thing strange comes at the top of the web page, when B-Ref gives an option to see the Spiders’ previous season but 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, firstly, a treasure trove of information. For instance, each crew web page features a fast visual representation of the game-by-game outcomes. Green means a win, crimson means a loss, and the peak of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 green bars and 134 red.

Every page is stuffed with storytelling statistics. So it’s easy to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however completed the season with a 4-30 file, and that the pitching staff as a whole completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t function a single participant with a league-average mark or better.

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

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