ithaca baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A player who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In lately with out MLB, our employees writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to seek out things that remind them of what makes the game so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you have the participant web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime home run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the web is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. A lot of that pleasure is tied in with searching Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and fun names and fantastic accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, however 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 site has extra info available than anybody has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for every participant, workforce, and season; for leagues ranging in ability degree across 4 continents; for every possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to rejoice the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anyplace 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 ready for the primary actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever a player leads his league in a statistical class, the quantity on his page is displayed in daring. If he leads all of Main League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a participant’s page, with sure categories weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the participant’s rating at the backside of his page as a quick and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads discuss players with lots of black ink, they go to favorites from the current past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my personal favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God rest his soul, however he might completely rake. If anything about Hornsby, aside from his successful personality, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the best ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb overall. 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 categories three times mixed, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you just desire a stats website to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst team in MLB history. They are also my favorite workforce in MLB historical past. (I am keen on them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend purchased me a vintage Spiders T-shirt as a birthday current.) And their Baseball-Reference page exhibits why.

The backstory here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ house owners additionally bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—together with Cy Younger and two different future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to kind a superteam. But that context isn’t immediately obvious on the page. One of the solely indications of one thing strange comes on the prime of the page, when B-Ref provides an choice to see the Spiders’ earlier season but not their next. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of something strange is the info itself; B-Ref is, first and foremost, a treasure trove of information. For instance, every workforce web page features a fast visible illustration of the game-by-game results. Inexperienced means a win, purple means a loss, and the peak of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Right here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 green bars and 134 purple.

Every web page is crammed 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 staff as a complete completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t characteristic a single participant 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 this time. 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 workforce, too, with a fun identify and a hilarious participant photograph—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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