roger craig baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A participant who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In lately without MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to find things that remind them of what makes the game so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth surprise of the world, and albeit, it’s superior to a number of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in spite of everything, when you have got the player web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime home run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. Much of that joy is tied in with looking Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and fun names and implausible accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, but in a time absent of actual video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it turns into 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 existing pages.

The positioning has extra data accessible than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every participant, workforce, and season; for leagues ranging in ability level across four continents; for every attainable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to rejoice the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from wherever on the positioning. As befits this eighth marvel, we got weird—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply ready for the first real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Each time a player leads his league in a statistical class, the quantity on his page is displayed in bold. If he leads all of Main League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a participant’s page, with certain classes weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the player’s rating at the bottom of his page as a fast and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads speak about gamers with a whole lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my private favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God rest his soul, but he might completely rake. If you understand anything about Hornsby, apart from his successful persona, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb general. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting average, OBP, and slugging share (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, sometimes you just desire a stats web site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst crew in MLB historical past. They're also my favorite team 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 shows why.

The backstory right here is that before the season, the Spiders’ house owners also bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—together with Cy Young and two different future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to form a superteam. But that context isn’t immediately apparent on the page. One of the only indications of one thing unusual comes at the prime of the page, when B-Ref gives an choice to see the Spiders’ earlier season however not their next. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of one thing unusual is the info itself; B-Ref is, before everything, a treasure trove of knowledge. As an example, each staff web page includes a quick visible representation of the game-by-game outcomes. Green means a win, pink means a loss, and the height of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Right here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 inexperienced bars and 134 purple.

Every page is full of storytelling statistics. So it’s easy to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however finished the season with a 4-30 document, and that the pitching staff as a complete finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t feature a single player with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t nearly as precise as it's right this moment. Six gamers have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness at the plate. And so they highlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with gamers like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this crew, too, with a fun name and a hilarious participant picture—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—as well.

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