ken griffey jr signed baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A player who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In nowadays 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 great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth surprise of the world, and frankly, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you may have the player web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime home run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. A lot of that joy is tied in with browsing Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and fantastic accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, but in a time absent of actual video games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively much 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 extra info available than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, crew, and season; for leagues ranging in skill level across four continents; for every attainable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to rejoice the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from wherever on the site. As befits this eighth surprise, we got weird—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply ready for the primary real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the crucial distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Every time a player leads his league in a statistical category, the number on his page is displayed in bold. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s web page, with certain classes weighted to emphasize their significance, and publishes the participant’s score on the bottom of his web page as a quick and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads speak about players with a number of black ink, they go to favorites from the current previous, 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, however he may absolutely rake. If you realize something about Hornsby, other than his winning character, it’s that his career batting average, .358, is the very best 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 Nationwide League in batting common, OBP, and slugging proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes three times combined, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you just need a stats site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst group in MLB history. 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 current.) And their Baseball-Reference page reveals why.

The backstory right here is that before the season, the Spiders’ owners additionally purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—together with Cy Younger and two different future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to kind a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly apparent on the web page. One of many solely indications of something unusual comes on the top of the web page, when B-Ref offers an option to see the Spiders’ previous season however not their subsequent. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of something strange is the data itself; B-Ref is, before everything, a treasure trove of knowledge. As an example, every crew web page features a fast visible representation of the game-by-game outcomes. Green means a win, crimson means a loss, and the peak of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Right here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 inexperienced bars and 134 purple.

Each web page is full of 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 employees as a complete finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t feature a single participant with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t nearly as exact as it is today. Six gamers have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure 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 team, too, with a fun name and a hilarious player picture—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—besides.

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