lakepoint baseball complex Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Examine. A participant who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In today with out MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to seek out issues that remind them of what makes the sport 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 will have the participant web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime residence run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the web is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. Much of that joy is tied in with shopping Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and implausible accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, however in a time absent of precise video games—Opening Day was initially 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 present pages.

The location has extra information obtainable than anybody has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, group, and season; for leagues ranging in talent degree across four continents; for every attainable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to rejoice the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anywhere on the positioning. As befits this eighth wonder, we got bizarre—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply ready for the primary actual 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 class, the quantity on his page is displayed in bold. If he leads all of Main 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 emphasize their significance, and publishes the participant’s score on the bottom of his web page as a fast and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads talk about players with a variety of black ink, they go to favorites from the current previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my personal favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God relaxation his soul, but he could completely rake. If you recognize something about Hornsby, other than his successful personality, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second only 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 share (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single 12 months. 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 really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you just desire a stats site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst team in MLB historical past. They are additionally my favourite workforce in MLB history. (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 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 players—including Cy Younger and two different future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to type a superteam. However that context isn’t immediately apparent on the page. One of the solely indications of something strange comes on the prime of the page, when B-Ref offers an choice 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 something strange is the data itself; B-Ref is, firstly, a treasure trove of data. For example, each staff page features a fast visible illustration 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 green bars and 134 crimson.

Every page is stuffed with storytelling statistics. So it’s easy 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 whole finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t feature a single player with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t nearly as exact as it's right this moment. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness on the plate. And so they spotlight 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 enjoyable title and a hilarious participant photo—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—besides.

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