marshalltown community college baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A player who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In today without MLB, our employees 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 nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth surprise of the world, and albeit, it’s superior to a few of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in spite of everything, when you've gotten the participant web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. Much of that pleasure is tied in with shopping Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and enjoyable names and incredible accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, however in a time absent of actual games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively much more central for fans: Only the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already existing pages.

The site has extra information out there than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, crew, and season; for leagues ranging in skill degree throughout four continents; for every possible 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, choosing our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anyplace on the location. As befits this eighth surprise, we bought weird—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just ready for the primary actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the crucial distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Every time a player leads his league in a statistical category, the number 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 sure classes weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the player’s rating at the bottom of his page as a fast and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads discuss players with numerous black ink, they go to favorites from the latest 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, however he might absolutely rake. If you know anything about Hornsby, other than his successful persona, it’s that his profession batting average, .358, is the best ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb overall. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting common, OBP, and slugging percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes thrice mixed, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you just desire a stats website to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst group in MLB history. They're also my favourite group in MLB history. (I adore them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend purchased me a vintage Spiders T-shirt as a birthday current.) And their Baseball-Reference page shows why.

The backstory here is that before the season, the Spiders’ house owners additionally bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—together with Cy Young and two different future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to try to type a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly apparent on the page. One of many solely indications of one thing unusual comes at the high of the web page, when B-Ref gives an option to see the Spiders’ previous season however not their next. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of one thing strange is the info itself; B-Ref is, at first, a treasure trove of knowledge. As an illustration, each team web page includes a quick visual representation of the game-by-game outcomes. Inexperienced 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 green bars and 134 purple.

Each web page is stuffed with storytelling statistics. So it’s simple to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however finished the season with a 4-30 file, and that the pitching workers as a complete 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 almost as exact as it is at this time. Six gamers have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure of their handedness at the plate. They usually 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 enjoyable title and a hilarious player photo—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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