university of chicago baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A participant who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double examine. In lately without MLB, our employees writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to search out issues that remind them of what makes the sport so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder 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 may have the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime home run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the web is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. Much of that joy is tied in with looking Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and improbable accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, but in a time absent of precise video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively much more central for followers: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the only new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already present pages.

The location has extra info obtainable than anybody has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, group, and season; for leagues ranging in ability level across 4 continents; for every possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to have a good time the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our 5 favourite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from wherever on the site. As befits this eighth surprise, we obtained bizarre—and in so doing, found 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 distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Each time a participant leads his league in a statistical class, the quantity on his web page is displayed in bold. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s web page, with certain categories weighted to emphasize their significance, and publishes the player’s score at the bottom of his page as a fast and soiled 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 past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my personal favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God relaxation his soul, however he could absolutely rake. If you realize something about Hornsby, aside from his successful character, it’s that his career batting average, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb total. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting average, OBP, and slugging proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes thrice combined, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, typically you just need a stats site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst staff in MLB historical past. They're additionally my favorite staff in MLB history. (I like 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 web page exhibits why.

The backstory right here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ house owners also bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—together with Cy Younger and two other future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to try to form a superteam. However that context isn’t immediately apparent on the page. One of the solely indications of one thing strange comes at the prime of the web page, when B-Ref offers an option to see the Spiders’ earlier season but not their next. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of something unusual is the data itself; B-Ref is, at first, a treasure trove of information. For example, every crew web page includes a quick visual illustration of the game-by-game results. Inexperienced 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 red.

Each web page is full of storytelling statistics. So it’s simple to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however completed the season with a 4-30 document, and that the pitching employees as a complete completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t characteristic a single participant with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t nearly as exact as it's immediately. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure 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 picture—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—as well.

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