lego baseball stadium Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A participant who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In today with out MLB, our employees writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to seek out issues that remind them of what makes the sport so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth surprise of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to among 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 history. Much of that joy is tied in with looking Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and enjoyable names and unbelievable accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, but in a time absent of actual games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively much more central for fans: 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 every player, team, and season; for leagues ranging in talent level across four continents; for every attainable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to have a good time the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anywhere on the positioning. As befits this eighth wonder, we bought weird—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply ready for the first actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever a participant 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 both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a participant’s web page, with sure categories weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the participant’s rating at the backside of his web page as a quick and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads speak about gamers with lots of black ink, they go to favorites from the recent previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my private favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God rest his soul, but he might absolutely rake. If you recognize anything about Hornsby, other than his profitable personality, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the best ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb general. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting common, OBP, and slugging proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes 3 times mixed, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you just want a stats site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst team in MLB history. They're additionally my favorite workforce in MLB historical past. (I like them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend purchased me a vintage Spiders T-shirt as a birthday present.) And their Baseball-Reference page reveals why.

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

The other indication of one thing unusual is the info itself; B-Ref is, in the beginning, a treasure trove of information. As an illustration, each group web page features a quick visible illustration of the game-by-game outcomes. Inexperienced means a win, red means a loss, and the peak of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 inexperienced bars and 134 purple.

Every page is filled with storytelling statistics. So it’s easy to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but finished the season with a 4-30 record, and that the pitching staff as an entire completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t function a single player with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as precise as it's as we speak. Six gamers have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness at the plate. They usually highlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with players like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this group, too, with a fun title and a hilarious player picture—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—besides.

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