top college baseball programs Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A participant who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In today without MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to find things that remind them of what makes the game so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth surprise of the world, and frankly, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you will have the participant web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the web is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. A lot of that pleasure is tied in with browsing Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and enjoyable names and implausible accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, but 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 current pages.

The site has extra data obtainable than anybody has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, group, and season; for leagues ranging in skill level across four continents; for each doable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to rejoice the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anywhere on the site. As befits this eighth marvel, 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 first actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Probably the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Every time a participant 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 both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a participant’s page, with sure classes weighted to emphasise their importance, and publishes the player’s rating at the bottom 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 quite a lot 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 an actual asshole, God rest his soul, however he might completely rake. If you recognize something about Hornsby, aside from his successful character, it’s that his profession batting average, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb total. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

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

The 1899 Spiders are the worst team in MLB historical past. They're additionally my favorite group in MLB historical past. (I adore them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend purchased me a classic Spiders T-shirt as a birthday current.) And their Baseball-Reference page exhibits why.

The backstory right here is that before the season, the Spiders’ homeowners additionally purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—together with Cy Younger and two different future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to kind a superteam. However that context isn’t immediately obvious on the page. One of many solely indications of something unusual comes on the high of the page, when B-Ref provides an option to see the Spiders’ previous season however not their subsequent. That’s because 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 workforce page features a quick visible illustration of the game-by-game results. Inexperienced 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 crimson.

Every page is stuffed with storytelling statistics. So it’s simple 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 complete completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t feature a single player with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as exact as it's as we speak. Six gamers have a “?” subsequent 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 players like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this team, too, with a fun title and a hilarious player picture—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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