who was the first african american baseball player Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A player who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In nowadays without MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to find issues that remind them of what makes the game so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth marvel of the world, and albeit, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you will have the participant page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. Much of that joy is tied in with looking Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird 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 originally slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively even more central for fans: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the only new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already current pages.

The site has extra information out there than anybody has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, workforce, and season; for leagues ranging in ability degree across 4 continents; for each attainable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to have fun the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anywhere on the positioning. 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 simply ready for the primary actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the vital distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever a participant leads his league in a statistical class, the number on his 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 player’s web page, with certain classes weighted to emphasize their significance, and publishes the player’s score on the bottom of his page as a fast and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads talk about gamers with quite a lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my personal favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God relaxation his soul, however he may absolutely rake. If you already know anything about Hornsby, other than his profitable personality, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the highest 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 Nationwide League in batting common, OBP, and slugging percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories thrice mixed, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you simply need a stats website to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst staff in MLB historical past. They are also my favourite group in MLB history. (I like them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend bought 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’ owners additionally purchased 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 instantly obvious on the page. One of many only indications of one thing strange comes on the high of the web page, when B-Ref gives 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 one thing strange is the information itself; B-Ref is, initially, a treasure trove of information. As an illustration, each workforce web page features a quick visual representation of the game-by-game outcomes. 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.

Every page is stuffed with storytelling statistics. So it’s easy to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however completed the season with a 4-30 file, and that the pitching workers as an entire finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t characteristic 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 right now. Six gamers have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness on 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 crew, too, with a fun name and a hilarious participant photo—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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