dad baseball cap Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A participant who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. 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 nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to some of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you will have the participant page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. A lot of that pleasure is tied in with shopping Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and enjoyable names and incredible 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 initially slated for Thursday—it turns into 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 present pages.

The location has more information out there than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, staff, and season; for leagues ranging in skill stage throughout four continents; for every possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to have fun the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from wherever on the positioning. As befits this eighth surprise, we bought weird—and in so doing, discovered 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 distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever a player leads his league in a statistical category, the number 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 player’s web page, with certain classes weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the participant’s score at the backside of his page as a fast and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads talk about gamers with a lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my private favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God relaxation his soul, however he could absolutely rake. If you recognize something about Hornsby, apart 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 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 percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories three times mixed, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you just want a stats site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst staff in MLB historical past. They're also my favourite workforce in MLB historical past. (I like 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 before 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 other future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to try to form a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly obvious on the page. One of many solely indications of something unusual comes at the high of the web page, when B-Ref gives an choice to see the Spiders’ previous season but not their subsequent. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of one thing strange is the information itself; B-Ref is, at the beginning, a treasure trove of data. For instance, every workforce web page includes a fast visible representation of the game-by-game outcomes. Green means a win, pink means a loss, and the height of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Right here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 green bars and 134 crimson.

Each page is filled with storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but completed the season with a 4-30 file, and that the pitching staff as an entire completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t feature a single player 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 at this time. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness at the plate. And so they spotlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with players like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this staff, too, with a enjoyable title and a hilarious participant picture—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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