portland pickles baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A participant who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In as of late without MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to search out issues 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 a few of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you have got the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house run king of Japan?

One of many 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 shopping Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and implausible 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 becomes counterintuitively much more central for fans: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already current pages.

The location has extra info accessible than anybody has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every participant, group, and season; for leagues ranging in skill degree throughout four continents; for each possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to have fun the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anywhere on the location. As befits this eighth surprise, we bought bizarre—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply ready for the first real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Some of the distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever a player leads his league in a statistical class, 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 player’s page, with sure categories weighted to emphasise their significance, and publishes the participant’s rating on the bottom of his web page as a fast and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads discuss players with loads of black ink, they go to favorites from the recent previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my private favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God rest his soul, however he may completely rake. If you realize anything about Hornsby, apart from his profitable personality, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the very 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 proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories three 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, generally you just 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're additionally my favourite team in MLB history. (I like them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend purchased me a classic Spiders T-shirt as a birthday present.) And their Baseball-Reference web page exhibits why.

The backstory here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ homeowners additionally purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Younger and two other future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to try to form a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly obvious on the page. One of many solely indications of something strange comes on the prime of the page, when B-Ref gives 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 something strange is the info itself; B-Ref is, at the start, a treasure trove of knowledge. As an illustration, every workforce page features a fast visible illustration of the game-by-game results. Inexperienced means a win, red means a loss, and the peak of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 inexperienced bars and 134 red.

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 document, and that the pitching workers as a complete completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t feature a single player with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t nearly as precise as it's as we speak. Six gamers 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 players like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this workforce, too, with a enjoyable title and a hilarious player photograph—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—besides.

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