tiger baseball game Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A participant who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In nowadays without MLB, our employees writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to search out things that remind them of what makes the sport so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you've gotten the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling run king of Japan?

One of many 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 shopping 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, however in a time absent of actual video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively much more central for fans: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the only new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already existing pages.

The positioning has more information accessible than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, crew, and season; for leagues ranging in talent stage across four continents; for each potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to celebrate the breadth of the positioning’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anyplace on the location. As befits this eighth wonder, we bought weird—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply ready for the first real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Some of the distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” At any time when a participant leads his league in a statistical category, the quantity on his page is displayed in daring. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a participant’s page, with certain classes 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 discuss gamers with a variety of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my private favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God relaxation his soul, but he might completely rake. If anything about Hornsby, apart from his successful personality, it’s that his profession batting average, .358, is the very best 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 National League in batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes three times combined, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you just need a stats website to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst crew in MLB history. They're additionally my favorite workforce in MLB history. (I adore 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 shows why.

The backstory 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—together with Cy Young and two different future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to type a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly obvious on the web page. One of the solely indications of one thing unusual comes at the top of the web page, when B-Ref offers an choice 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 one thing unusual is the information itself; B-Ref is, at first, a treasure trove of knowledge. For example, each workforce page includes a fast visual illustration of the game-by-game results. Green means a win, purple means a loss, and the peak of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Right here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 inexperienced bars and 134 purple.

Every web page is stuffed with storytelling statistics. So it’s simple to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however finished the season with a 4-30 file, and that the pitching workers as a complete finished 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 almost as exact as it's at the moment. Six gamers have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness at the plate. And they spotlight 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 participant photograph—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—besides.

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