sports baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A participant who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In lately 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 sport so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth surprise of the world, and frankly, it’s superior to some of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you may have the player web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house 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 shopping Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and enjoyable names and improbable accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, however in a time absent of precise video games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively even more central for fans: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already present pages.

The location has more data out there than anybody has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for every participant, team, and season; for leagues ranging in ability degree throughout 4 continents; for each possible 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 favourite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anyplace on the site. As befits this eighth surprise, we received 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.

One of the vital distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever a participant leads his league in a statistical category, 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 certain classes weighted to emphasise their importance, 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 speak about gamers with numerous black ink, they go to favorites from the current 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 rest his soul, however he might absolutely rake. If you already know something about Hornsby, apart from his winning character, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb general. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting common, OBP, and slugging share (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories three times mixed, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you simply want 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 group in MLB historical past. (I adore them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend purchased me a vintage 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’ house owners additionally purchased 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 try to kind a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly apparent on the web page. One of the solely indications of something unusual comes on the top of the page, when B-Ref gives 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 something strange is the information itself; B-Ref is, at first, a treasure trove of data. As an illustration, each team page includes a fast visible illustration of the game-by-game outcomes. Green means a win, pink 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.

Every web page is filled 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 document, and that the pitching workers 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 additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t almost as precise as it is at this time. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness at the plate. They usually spotlight 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 fun title and a hilarious participant photograph—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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