gifts for baseball lovers Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A participant who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In these days without MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete 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 some of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you could have the participant web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house 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 browsing Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and enjoyable names and unbelievable accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, however in a time absent of precise games—Opening Day was originally 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 current pages.

The positioning has more info out there than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for every participant, crew, and season; for leagues ranging in ability stage throughout four continents; for every potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to have a good time the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anywhere on the location. As befits this eighth wonder, we received 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.

Some of the 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 daring. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s both 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 at the bottom of his page as a fast and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads talk about gamers with a number of black ink, they go to favorites from the current previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my personal favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God relaxation his soul, however he could absolutely rake. If you recognize something about Hornsby, other than his successful personality, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb general. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting common, OBP, and slugging proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories three times combined, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you just desire a stats website to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst workforce in MLB historical past. They are also my favourite team in MLB history. (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 reveals why.

The backstory here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ house owners additionally purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—together with Cy Younger and two other future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to try to form a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly apparent on the page. One of many solely indications of something strange comes at the top of the page, when B-Ref offers an choice to see the Spiders’ previous season however not their subsequent. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of something unusual is the information itself; B-Ref is, before everything, a treasure trove of information. For example, each staff page features a fast visual representation of the game-by-game results. Green means a win, crimson 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 crimson.

Each web page is full of storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but finished the season with a 4-30 record, and that the pitching staff as a complete finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t characteristic a single player with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t nearly as exact as it is at the moment. Six gamers have a “?” next 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 gamers like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this staff, too, with a fun identify and a hilarious participant photo—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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