rice owls baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A player who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In these days with out MLB, our employees 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 nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and frankly, it’s superior to some of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you may have the participant web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling 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. A lot 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, however in a time absent of actual video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively even more central for fans: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the only new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already existing pages.

The site has more data out there than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, team, and season; for leagues ranging in talent level across four continents; for every doable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to celebrate the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our 5 favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anywhere on the location. As befits this eighth marvel, we got bizarre—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply waiting for the first actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Some of the distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” At any time when a player leads his league in a statistical category, the quantity on his page is displayed in bold. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s web page, with sure categories weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the participant’s rating on the bottom of his web page as a quick and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads talk about players with a number 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 rest his soul, but he may completely rake. If you already know something about Hornsby, apart from his winning character, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb overall. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting average, OBP, and slugging proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories thrice combined, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, typically 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 history. They are additionally my favorite team in MLB history. (I am keen on 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 web page shows why.

The backstory right here is that before the season, the Spiders’ homeowners also purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Younger and two different future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to try to kind a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly obvious on the page. One of many solely indications of one thing strange comes at the high of the page, when B-Ref gives an option to see the Spiders’ earlier season however not their subsequent. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of something unusual is the data itself; B-Ref is, at the beginning, a treasure trove of knowledge. As an example, each staff page features a quick visible illustration of the game-by-game outcomes. Green means a win, red 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.

Each page is stuffed with storytelling statistics. So it’s easy to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but finished the season with a 4-30 document, and that the pitching employees as a whole completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t function a single player with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t almost as precise as it is at this time. Six gamers have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain 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 team, too, with a enjoyable identify and a hilarious participant picture—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—as well.

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