florida minor league baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A player who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In nowadays without MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to search out things that remind them of what makes the game so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth surprise of the world, and albeit, it’s superior to a number of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you might have the participant page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. Much of that pleasure is tied in with looking 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 deal with, however in a time absent of actual video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively even more central for followers: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the only new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already current pages.

The site has extra data accessible than anybody has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, group, and season; for leagues ranging in skill stage across 4 continents; for each possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to have a good time the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from wherever on the positioning. As befits this eighth marvel, we acquired 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 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 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 page, with certain classes weighted to emphasise their importance, and publishes the participant’s rating on the bottom of his page as a fast and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads speak about gamers with a whole lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the recent past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my private favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God rest his soul, but he may completely rake. If you recognize anything about Hornsby, apart from his profitable personality, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb total. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting average, OBP, and slugging share (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories three times mixed, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you just need a stats web site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst group in MLB historical past. They're additionally my favorite staff in MLB historical past. (I adore 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 reveals why.

The backstory right here is that before 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 attempt to form a superteam. However that context isn’t immediately obvious on the page. One of the solely indications of one thing strange comes at the prime of the web page, when B-Ref offers 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 info itself; B-Ref is, in the beginning, a treasure trove of information. For instance, each group page features a fast visible representation of the game-by-game results. Green 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 purple.

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

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as precise as it's immediately. Six gamers have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness at the plate. And they spotlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with gamers like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this team, too, with a enjoyable identify and a hilarious participant picture—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—besides.

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