rice university baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Examine. A player who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In today with out MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to find issues that remind them of what makes the sport so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to a number of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you have the participant page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime residence run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. A lot of that joy is tied in with searching Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre 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 actual games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively even more central for followers: 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 extra info obtainable than anybody has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, group, and season; for leagues ranging in ability stage across four continents; for every potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to have a good time 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 location. 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 just waiting for the first actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Probably the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever a player leads his league in a statistical category, the number on his page is displayed in daring. If he leads all of Main League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s web page, with certain classes weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the participant’s score at the backside of his web page as a fast 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 current past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my private favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God rest his soul, but he may absolutely rake. If you recognize anything about Hornsby, other than his winning personality, it’s that his profession batting average, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb general. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting common, OBP, and slugging proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories thrice combined, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, typically you simply want a stats website to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst workforce in MLB history. They're also my favorite workforce in MLB history. (I am keen on them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend purchased me a vintage Spiders T-shirt as a birthday current.) And their Baseball-Reference web page reveals why.

The backstory here is that before the season, the Spiders’ house owners additionally bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—together with Cy Younger and two other future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to form a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly obvious on the web page. One of many solely indications of something strange comes at the top of the page, when B-Ref offers an option to see the Spiders’ earlier season but not their next. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of something strange is the data itself; B-Ref is, at the start, a treasure trove of data. As an illustration, every team web page features a fast visual representation 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 red.

Each page is stuffed 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 document, and that the pitching employees as a complete completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t function 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 exact as it's right now. Six gamers have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness at the plate. They usually spotlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with gamers like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this staff, too, with a fun title and a hilarious participant photograph—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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