high school baseball state tournament Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Examine. A player who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In lately 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 sport so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth surprise of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to some of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in spite of everything, when you will have the player web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling 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. A lot of that joy is tied in with searching Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and enjoyable names and fantastic accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, but in a time absent of precise games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it becomes 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 existing pages.

The location has extra data obtainable than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, staff, and season; for leagues ranging in ability degree throughout 4 continents; for each potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to have fun the breadth of the positioning’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anyplace on the site. As befits this eighth marvel, we obtained 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.

One of the vital distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Each time a participant leads his league in a statistical category, the quantity on his page is displayed in bold. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s each bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s web page, with sure classes weighted to emphasise their significance, and publishes the player’s score on the backside of his page as a quick and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

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

That’s proper, 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 3 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 need a stats website to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst workforce in MLB historical past. They are also my favourite group in MLB historical past. (I adore them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend purchased me a vintage Spiders T-shirt as a birthday present.) And their Baseball-Reference web page exhibits why.

The backstory right here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ owners additionally purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—together with Cy Young and two other future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to try to kind a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly obvious on the page. One of the only indications of one thing unusual comes on the high of the page, when B-Ref gives an option to see the Spiders’ previous season however not their next. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of one thing strange is the information itself; B-Ref is, firstly, a treasure trove of knowledge. For example, each crew page features a fast visual illustration of the game-by-game outcomes. Inexperienced means a win, pink means a loss, and the height of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 green bars and 134 purple.

Each web page is filled with storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however completed the season with a 4-30 record, and that the pitching workers as a complete completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t function a single player with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as precise as it's at the moment. Six gamers have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure of their handedness on the plate. And so they 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 enjoyable name and a hilarious player photo—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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