negro league baseball teams Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A player who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double examine. In as of late without MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to seek out issues that remind them of what makes the game so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth marvel of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to some of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you've gotten the player web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime home 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 pleasure is tied in with looking Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and fun names and implausible accomplishments and all of those 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 much more central for followers: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the only new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already current pages.

The location has more information out there than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every participant, team, and season; for leagues ranging in ability level throughout 4 continents; for each possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to celebrate the breadth of the positioning’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anyplace on the location. As befits this eighth surprise, we acquired weird—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply waiting for the first actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Probably the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Each time a player leads his league in a statistical class, the quantity on his web 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 participant’s web page, with sure classes weighted to emphasise their importance, and publishes the player’s rating on the bottom of his page as a fast and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads talk about gamers with lots of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my private favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God relaxation his soul, but he might completely rake. If you realize something about Hornsby, other than his winning character, it’s that his career batting average, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb general. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting average, OBP, and slugging proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories three times mixed, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you simply desire a stats web site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst group in MLB historical past. They are additionally my favourite team in MLB history. (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 current.) And their Baseball-Reference page exhibits why.

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

The opposite indication of something unusual is the info itself; B-Ref is, in the beginning, a treasure trove of knowledge. As an example, every team page includes a quick visible representation of the game-by-game outcomes. Green means a win, pink 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 red.

Every web page is stuffed with storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however completed the season with a 4-30 record, and that the pitching workers as an entire finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t function 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 this moment. Six players have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness at 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 crew, too, with a enjoyable identify and a hilarious player photograph—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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