tennessee baseball team Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Examine. A participant who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In nowadays without MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to find things that remind them of what makes the sport so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth marvel 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 will have the participant page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime home 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. Much of that pleasure is tied in with browsing Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and improbable accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, 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: Only the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the only new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already existing pages.

The site has extra info available than anybody has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, staff, and season; for leagues ranging in skill degree across 4 continents; for each potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to rejoice the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anyplace on the positioning. As befits this eighth wonder, we bought bizarre—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just waiting for the primary real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Every time a player leads his league in a statistical class, 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 participant’s web page, with sure categories weighted to emphasise their significance, and publishes the participant’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 lots of black ink, they go to favorites from the current previous, 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, however he may completely rake. If you realize anything about Hornsby, apart from his profitable personality, it’s that his profession batting average, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb general. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting average, OBP, and slugging proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every 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 like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you just want a stats website to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst workforce in MLB history. They are additionally my favorite group in MLB history. (I am keen on them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend bought me a vintage Spiders T-shirt as a birthday present.) And their Baseball-Reference page reveals why.

The backstory here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ homeowners also bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Younger and two other future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to try to form a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly apparent on the web page. One of the only indications of something strange comes at the high of the page, when B-Ref gives an choice to see the Spiders’ earlier season however not their subsequent. 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, at the beginning, a treasure trove of knowledge. For example, every group page features a fast visual illustration of the game-by-game outcomes. Green 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 inexperienced bars and 134 pink.

Every web 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 document, and that the pitching workers as an entire finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t characteristic a single player with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t almost as exact as it's in the present day. Six players 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 players like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this workforce, too, with a fun name and a hilarious player photo—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—besides.

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