oh that s a baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Examine. A participant who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In today without MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to seek out things that remind them of what makes the game so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and albeit, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you've gotten the participant 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 history. A lot of that pleasure is tied in with browsing Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and fun names and improbable accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, however in a time absent of precise video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it turns into 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 present pages.

The location has extra information out there than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for every participant, team, and season; for leagues ranging in talent stage throughout 4 continents; for every possible 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 5 favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anyplace on the positioning. As befits this eighth marvel, 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 distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever a player leads his league in a statistical class, 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 participant’s page, with certain categories weighted to emphasise their importance, and publishes the player’s score on the backside of his web page as a quick and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads talk about players with quite a lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the recent past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my personal 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 recognize anything about Hornsby, apart from his winning character, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb total. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes 3 times mixed, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you simply need a stats web site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst team in MLB historical past. They're also my favourite group in MLB historical past. (I adore 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 web page exhibits why.

The backstory right here is that before the season, the Spiders’ homeowners also bought 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. But that context isn’t instantly apparent on the web page. One of the solely indications of one thing unusual comes at the prime of the page, when B-Ref offers an choice to see the Spiders’ earlier season however not their subsequent. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of one thing unusual is the information itself; B-Ref is, firstly, a treasure trove of data. As an example, each workforce page features a fast visual illustration of the game-by-game results. Green means a win, crimson means a loss, and the height of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 green bars and 134 pink.

Every page is filled 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 file, and that the pitching staff as a whole 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 almost as precise as it's in the present day. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure of their handedness at the plate. And so they highlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with players like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this staff, too, with a fun name and a hilarious participant picture—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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