quakes baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A player who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In as of late without MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to find issues that remind them of what makes the game so nice.

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, after all, when you may have the player web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. A lot of that pleasure is tied in with searching Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and unbelievable accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, but in a time absent of precise video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively even more central for followers: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already existing pages.

The location has more information out there than anybody has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, team, and season; for leagues ranging in skill degree across four continents; for every doable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to rejoice the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anyplace on the site. As befits this eighth surprise, we got bizarre—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just waiting for the primary real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the vital distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Each time a participant leads his league in a statistical category, the number on his web page is displayed in daring. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a participant’s page, with certain categories weighted to emphasise their significance, and publishes the participant’s rating at the bottom of his web page as a fast and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads speak about players with quite a lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the recent 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, however he might completely rake. If you already know anything about Hornsby, apart from his profitable personality, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the best ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb total. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting common, OBP, and slugging share (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes 3 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 just need a stats web site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst crew in MLB historical past. They are also my favorite team in MLB history. (I adore 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 reveals why.

The backstory here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ homeowners additionally bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—including Cy Young and two different future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to kind a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly obvious on the page. One of many only indications of something strange comes on the prime of the page, when B-Ref offers an choice to see the Spiders’ earlier season but not their next. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of one thing unusual is the info itself; B-Ref is, at first, a treasure trove of data. For example, every team page includes a quick visible representation of the game-by-game outcomes. Inexperienced means a win, purple 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 web page is stuffed with storytelling statistics. So it’s simple to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but finished the season with a 4-30 file, and that the pitching employees as an entire finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t function a single player with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as exact as it's at present. Six gamers have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness at 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 group, too, with a fun name and a hilarious player photograph—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—as well.

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