what does k mean in baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A participant who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In lately with out MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to seek out issues that remind them of what makes the game so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth surprise of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to a few of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you might have the participant web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the internet 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 unbelievable accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, but in a time absent of actual games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively even more central for followers: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already current pages.

The location has more data out there than anybody has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, crew, and season; for leagues ranging in skill level across 4 continents; for every possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to have fun the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from wherever on the location. As befits this eighth wonder, we got weird—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply ready for the primary real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Probably the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever a participant leads his league in a statistical category, the number on his web page is displayed in daring. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s each bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s web page, with sure categories weighted to emphasise their importance, and publishes the participant’s score on the backside of his page as a fast and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads discuss gamers with a lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my personal favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God relaxation his soul, however he could absolutely rake. If you know anything about Hornsby, aside 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 overall. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting common, OBP, and slugging proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories 3 times combined, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you simply want a stats web 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 favourite team in MLB historical past. (I like them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend bought me a vintage 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’ house owners additionally purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—including Cy Younger and two other future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to type a superteam. However that context isn’t immediately apparent on the page. One of many solely indications of something unusual comes on the high of the web page, when B-Ref provides an option to see the Spiders’ previous season but not their next. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of something unusual is the data itself; B-Ref is, at the start, a treasure trove of data. As an illustration, every team page features a fast visual illustration of the game-by-game outcomes. Green means a win, red means a loss, and the peak of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Right here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 green bars and 134 red.

Every page is filled with storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however finished the season with a 4-30 file, and that the pitching staff as a complete finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t function a single player with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as exact as it's at this time. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness on the plate. And so they highlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with gamers like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this workforce, too, with a fun name and a hilarious player picture—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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