toddler girl baseball hats Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A player who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In today without MLB, our workers 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 nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth marvel of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to a number of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you might have the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime home 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 pleasure is tied in with shopping Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and enjoyable names and fantastic accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, however in a time absent of actual video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively much 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 positioning has more info accessible than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every participant, crew, and season; for leagues ranging in skill degree across four continents; for every possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to have fun the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anywhere on the positioning. As befits this eighth surprise, we received weird—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just ready for the primary real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of 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 each bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s page, with certain categories weighted to emphasise their significance, and publishes the player’s score at the bottom of his page as a quick and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads speak about gamers with a variety of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my private favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God relaxation his soul, but he might completely rake. If you recognize something about Hornsby, aside from his winning character, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb overall. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting common, OBP, and slugging percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes thrice mixed, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you simply desire a stats site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst crew in MLB history. They are also my favorite team in MLB history. (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 exhibits why.

The backstory here is that before the season, the Spiders’ house owners additionally bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—together with Cy Younger and two different future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to type a superteam. But that context isn’t immediately obvious on the web page. One of many only indications of one thing strange comes on the high of the page, when B-Ref provides an choice to see the Spiders’ earlier season however not their next. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of something unusual is the information itself; B-Ref is, firstly, a treasure trove of data. As an illustration, every group page features a fast visible 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. Here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 inexperienced bars and 134 red.

Each web page is stuffed with storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however completed the season with a 4-30 report, and that the pitching staff as an entire 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 exact as it's at this time. Six gamers have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness at the plate. They usually spotlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with players like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this group, too, with a fun name and a hilarious participant photo—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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