pitching machine baseballs Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Examine. A participant who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In today with out 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 sport so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth marvel of the world, and albeit, it’s superior to some of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in spite of everything, when you will have the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the web is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. A lot of that joy is tied in with browsing Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and fun names and incredible accomplishments and all of those 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 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 info accessible than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, staff, and season; for leagues ranging in ability level throughout four continents; for every potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to have fun the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anywhere on the positioning. As befits this eighth marvel, we obtained weird—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply waiting for the primary real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

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

When most statheads speak about players with lots of black ink, they go to favorites from the current previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my private favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God rest his soul, but he might absolutely rake. If you recognize something about Hornsby, apart from his winning persona, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb total. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting common, OBP, and slugging share (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories three times combined, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, typically you simply desire a stats web site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst team in MLB history. They are additionally my favorite workforce in MLB historical past. (I adore 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 page exhibits why.

The backstory here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ owners also 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 try to form a superteam. However that context isn’t immediately apparent on the web page. One of many solely indications of something unusual comes on the high of the web page, when B-Ref offers an choice to see the Spiders’ previous season however not their subsequent. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of something strange is the data itself; B-Ref is, at the start, a treasure trove of knowledge. As an example, every crew web page includes a fast visual illustration of the game-by-game results. Inexperienced 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 purple.

Each page is stuffed with storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however finished the season with a 4-30 document, and that the pitching workers as a complete completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t characteristic a single participant with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t almost as precise as it's at present. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness on the plate. And 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 enjoyable name and a hilarious participant picture—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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