hustle baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A player who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In as of late without MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to find issues 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 among the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in spite of everything, when you will have the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime residence run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the web is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. Much of that pleasure is tied in with searching Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and improbable accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, but in a time absent of actual video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively even more central for fans: Only the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already current pages.

The positioning has extra data out there than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, workforce, and season; for leagues ranging in talent stage across 4 continents; for each potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to have a good time the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anyplace on the positioning. As befits this eighth marvel, we obtained bizarre—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply 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 category, the number on his page is displayed in bold. If he leads all of Main League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s page, with certain categories weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the player’s rating on the bottom of his page as a quick and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads discuss players with loads of black ink, they go to favorites from the current 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 rest his soul, but he could absolutely rake. If anything about Hornsby, other than his profitable persona, it’s that his profession batting average, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb total. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting average, OBP, and slugging proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes 3 times mixed, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you just need a stats website to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst group in MLB historical past. They're additionally my favourite crew in MLB history. (I like them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend purchased me a classic Spiders T-shirt as a birthday present.) And their Baseball-Reference page exhibits why.

The backstory here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ homeowners also purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—including Cy Younger and two different future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to try to type a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly apparent on the page. One of the solely indications of something strange comes on the high of the web page, when B-Ref offers 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 opposite indication of one thing unusual is the data itself; B-Ref is, first and foremost, a treasure trove of knowledge. As an example, each team web page features a quick visible representation of the game-by-game results. Green means a win, red 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 crimson.

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

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as precise as it is at the moment. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness on 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 staff, too, with a enjoyable title and a hilarious player photo—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—as well.

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