willie wilson baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A player who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In these days without MLB, our employees writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to seek out issues that remind them of what makes the game so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth marvel of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to some of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in spite of everything, when you've gotten the player web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house run king of Japan?

One of many 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 looking Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun 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 video games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively much more central for followers: Only the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already existing pages.

The location has extra information available than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, team, and season; for leagues ranging in talent level throughout 4 continents; for every attainable 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, selecting our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anywhere on the location. As befits this eighth wonder, we acquired weird—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply ready for the first actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Probably the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever a player leads his league in a statistical category, the quantity on his page is displayed in bold. 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 emphasize their significance, and publishes the player’s rating on the bottom of his web page as a quick and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads talk about players with lots of black ink, they go to favorites from the current past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However 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 anything about Hornsby, aside from his profitable persona, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb total. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

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 yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories three times combined, 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 web site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst staff in MLB history. They are additionally my favorite crew 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’ homeowners also bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Younger and two other future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to form a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly apparent on the page. One of many solely indications of something unusual comes on the top of the page, when B-Ref offers an choice to see the Spiders’ previous season however not their next. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of one thing unusual is the information itself; B-Ref is, firstly, a treasure trove of information. As an example, every crew page includes a quick visible illustration of the game-by-game outcomes. 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 pink.

Every web 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 completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t characteristic a single player with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t almost as exact as it's right this moment. Six gamers have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure of their handedness on the plate. And so they highlight 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 identify and a hilarious participant photo—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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