leather baseball hat Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A player who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double examine. In lately without MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to search out things that remind them of what makes the sport so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth surprise of the world, and albeit, it’s superior to a few of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in spite of everything, when you have the participant web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling 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. A lot of that pleasure is tied in with shopping Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and enjoyable names and implausible accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, but 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 more info available than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every participant, staff, and season; for leagues ranging in skill level throughout 4 continents; for every potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to have a good time the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from wherever on the location. As befits this eighth marvel, we received weird—and in so doing, found 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 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 daring. If he leads all of Main League Baseball, it’s each bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s page, with certain classes weighted to emphasize their significance, and publishes the player’s score on the backside of his web page as a fast and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads discuss players with numerous black ink, they go to favorites from the recent previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my private favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God relaxation his soul, however he might completely rake. If you already know anything about Hornsby, aside from his winning persona, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the best 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 percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes three times combined, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you simply want a stats website to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst crew 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 bought me a vintage Spiders T-shirt as a birthday present.) And their Baseball-Reference web page exhibits why.

The backstory right here is that before the season, the Spiders’ owners also purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—together with Cy Young and two other future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to try to kind a superteam. However that context isn’t immediately apparent on the page. One of the solely indications of one thing unusual comes on the prime of the web page, when B-Ref provides an option to see the Spiders’ previous season however not their subsequent. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of something strange is the information itself; B-Ref is, at the start, a treasure trove of knowledge. For instance, each team web page features a fast visual illustration of the game-by-game outcomes. Green means a win, pink means a loss, and the height 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 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 report, and that the pitching staff as a whole completed 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 practically as precise as it is right now. Six players have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness at the plate. And they spotlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with players like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this crew, too, with a fun name and a hilarious player photo—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—besides.

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