stick baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Examine. A participant who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In lately with out MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to find things that remind them of what makes the game so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth marvel of the world, and albeit, it’s superior to a number of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you've gotten the participant 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 history. A lot of that pleasure is tied in with searching Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and incredible accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, but in a time absent of precise games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively much 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 site has more information available than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, crew, and season; for leagues ranging in skill level across 4 continents; for each attainable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to celebrate the breadth of the positioning’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anywhere on the positioning. As befits this eighth marvel, we obtained weird—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just ready for the first real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Probably the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Each time a player leads his league in a statistical class, the number on his web 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 page, with certain classes weighted to emphasise their significance, and publishes the participant’s score on the bottom of his web page as a quick and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads talk about players with lots of black ink, they go to favorites from the recent previous, 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 might absolutely rake. If you already know something about Hornsby, aside from his successful personality, it’s that his career batting average, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb overall. 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+) every single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes thrice combined, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you simply desire a stats web site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst group in MLB historical past. They are additionally my favourite crew 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 web page shows why.

The backstory right here is that before the season, the Spiders’ owners additionally purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Younger and two other future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to form a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly apparent on the web page. One of many solely indications of something unusual comes on the high of the page, when B-Ref provides an choice to see the Spiders’ previous 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 information itself; B-Ref is, first and foremost, a treasure trove of knowledge. For example, each crew page includes a quick visible illustration of the game-by-game outcomes. Inexperienced means a win, crimson means a loss, and the height of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Right here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 green bars and 134 pink.

Every page is filled with storytelling statistics. So it’s simple 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 whole finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t function a single participant with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t nearly as precise as it's immediately. Six players have a “?” subsequent 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 workforce, too, with a enjoyable identify and a hilarious player photograph—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—as well.

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