tapered baseball pants Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A participant who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In as of late without MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to seek out issues that remind them of what makes the sport so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth surprise of the world, and frankly, it’s superior to a few of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you could have the player web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling 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 pleasure is tied in with searching Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and enjoyable names and incredible accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, but in a time absent of precise 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 current pages.

The site has extra information out there than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for every participant, staff, and season; for leagues ranging in skill level across four continents; for every doable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to have a good time the breadth of the positioning’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our 5 favourite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from wherever on the positioning. As befits this eighth surprise, we obtained bizarre—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just ready for the primary actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Some of the distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Every time a player leads his league in a statistical category, the quantity on his web 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 categories weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the player’s score at the backside of his web page as a quick 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 current 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 relaxation his soul, but he could absolutely rake. If you know anything about Hornsby, other than his profitable personality, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb general. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

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 year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories 3 times mixed, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you just 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're also my favourite workforce in MLB historical past. (I like 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 page reveals why.

The backstory right here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ homeowners additionally bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—together with Cy Younger and two different future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to type a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly apparent on the page. One of the solely indications of one thing unusual comes at the prime of the web page, when B-Ref offers an option to see the Spiders’ earlier season but not their subsequent. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of something unusual is the info itself; B-Ref is, in the beginning, a treasure trove of data. For instance, each team web page features a fast visible illustration of the game-by-game results. 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 red.

Every 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 record, and that the pitching workers as a whole completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t feature a single participant with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as precise as it's right now. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure of their handedness at the plate. And they highlight 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 name and a hilarious player picture—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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