tennessee baseball game Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A player who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double examine. In lately without MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to find issues that remind them of what makes the sport so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth marvel of the world, and albeit, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you will have the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime residence run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s nook 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 enjoyable names and fantastic accomplishments and all of these 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 fans: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already existing pages.

The location has more info obtainable than anybody has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, workforce, and season; for leagues ranging in skill stage throughout four continents; for each possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to have fun the breadth of the positioning’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anywhere on the site. As befits this eighth wonder, we got bizarre—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just ready for the first actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Some of the 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 daring. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s each bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a participant’s page, with certain categories weighted to emphasize their significance, and publishes the participant’s rating at the backside of his web page as a quick and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads talk about players with a whole lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the recent previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my private favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God relaxation his soul, however he might absolutely rake. If you recognize anything about Hornsby, aside from his winning persona, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the best ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb overall. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes three times combined, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you just desire a stats website to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst staff in MLB historical past. They are additionally my favourite workforce in MLB historical past. (I am keen on 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 here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ owners also bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—together with Cy Young and two different future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to try to form a superteam. But that context isn’t immediately apparent on the web page. One of many solely indications of one thing strange comes at the top of the page, when B-Ref gives an option to see the Spiders’ earlier season however not their subsequent. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of one thing strange is the data itself; B-Ref is, at the start, a treasure trove of knowledge. As an example, each group page features a quick visual illustration of the game-by-game results. Green means a win, red means a loss, and the peak of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 green bars and 134 crimson.

Every page is stuffed with storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but completed the season with a 4-30 file, and that the pitching staff 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 additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t nearly as exact as it's right now. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure of their handedness on the plate. They usually 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 title and a hilarious player photograph—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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