ken has 7 baseballs Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A player who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In nowadays without MLB, our staff 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 frankly, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in spite of everything, when you have got the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime residence 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 joy is tied in with browsing Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and implausible accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, however in a time absent of actual video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively much more central for fans: Only 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 data out there than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, staff, and season; for leagues ranging in ability level across 4 continents; for each attainable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to rejoice the breadth of the positioning’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our 5 favourite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from wherever on the location. As befits this eighth marvel, we received bizarre—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just ready for the primary real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” At any time when a player leads his league in a statistical category, the quantity on his web 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 web page, with certain classes weighted to emphasise their importance, and publishes the participant’s score at the bottom of his page as a fast and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads talk about players with a number of black ink, they go to favorites from the current past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my private favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God relaxation his soul, but he could absolutely rake. If you already know anything about Hornsby, apart from his profitable 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 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+) each single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes thrice combined, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you simply want a stats web site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst team in MLB history. They are also my favorite crew in MLB historical past. (I adore 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 web page reveals why.

The backstory here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ homeowners additionally purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Younger and two different future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to form a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly obvious on the page. One of the only indications of one thing strange comes at the top of the web page, when B-Ref provides an option to see the Spiders’ earlier season however not their next. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of something strange is the information itself; B-Ref is, before everything, a treasure trove of knowledge. As an illustration, every staff web page includes a quick visual representation of the game-by-game results. Green 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 inexperienced bars and 134 purple.

Each page is filled 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 file, 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 higher.

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as exact as it's in the present day. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness at the plate. And so they spotlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with players like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this team, too, with a enjoyable name and a hilarious participant photo—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—as well.

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