dynasty league baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Examine. A player who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double examine. In today with out MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to search out issues that remind them of what makes the game so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and albeit, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you have got the participant page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the web is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. Much of that pleasure is tied in with shopping Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and enjoyable 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 precise video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively even more central for followers: Only the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the only new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already present pages.

The positioning has extra information obtainable than anybody has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, group, and season; for leagues ranging in talent degree across four continents; for each potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to rejoice the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from wherever on the positioning. As befits this eighth surprise, we acquired bizarre—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just waiting for the primary actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Some of the distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” At any time when a player leads his league in a statistical class, the number on his web 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 classes weighted to emphasize their significance, and publishes the participant’s score on the bottom of his page as a quick and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads talk about gamers with lots of black ink, they go to favorites from the recent past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my private favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God relaxation his soul, however he may completely rake. If something about Hornsby, other than his winning personality, it’s that his profession batting average, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb total. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting common, OBP, and slugging share (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes three times mixed, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you simply want a stats web site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst crew in MLB history. They're additionally my favorite group 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 page shows why.

The backstory right here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ homeowners additionally bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Young and two other future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to try to type a superteam. But that context isn’t immediately apparent on the page. One of many solely indications of one thing strange comes on the top of the page, when B-Ref gives an choice to see the Spiders’ earlier season however not their next. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of one thing strange is the data itself; B-Ref is, before everything, a treasure trove of knowledge. For example, every group page features a fast visual illustration of the game-by-game outcomes. Inexperienced means a win, red means a loss, and the peak 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 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 feature a single participant with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t nearly as exact as it's immediately. Six players have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure of their handedness at the plate. And they spotlight 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 title and a hilarious player picture—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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