madison central high school baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A participant who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double examine. In these days without MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full 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 admittedly, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in spite of everything, when you have the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime home run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. Much of that pleasure is tied in with browsing Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and improbable 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 originally slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively much more central for followers: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already existing pages.

The location has extra information out there than anybody has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, team, and season; for leagues ranging in ability degree throughout 4 continents; for each possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to celebrate the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anywhere on the site. As befits this eighth marvel, we acquired bizarre—and in so doing, discovered 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 crucial distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever 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 each bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s page, with certain categories weighted to emphasize their significance, and publishes the player’s rating on the bottom of his page as a fast and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads talk about players with plenty of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my personal favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God rest his soul, but he may completely rake. If you know something about Hornsby, other than his successful persona, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the 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 National League in batting common, OBP, and slugging share (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, generally you just need a stats site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst crew in MLB historical past. They are additionally my favourite staff in MLB history. (I am keen on them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend bought me a classic Spiders T-shirt as a birthday present.) And their Baseball-Reference web page shows why.

The backstory right here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ homeowners also bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—together with Cy Young and two different future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to try to form a superteam. But that context isn’t immediately obvious on the page. One of many solely indications of one thing unusual comes at the top of the web page, when B-Ref provides an choice to see the Spiders’ earlier season but not their subsequent. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of one thing unusual is the info itself; B-Ref is, firstly, a treasure trove of knowledge. For instance, each crew web page features a fast visible representation of the game-by-game outcomes. Green means a win, red means a loss, and the height of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Right here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 inexperienced bars and 134 pink.

Every web page is full of storytelling statistics. So it’s easy to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but 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 additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as exact as it is as we speak. 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 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 fun title and a hilarious player photo—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—as well.

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