yellow baseball cap Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A participant who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In nowadays with out MLB, our employees writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to find things that remind them of what makes the sport so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth marvel of the world, and frankly, it’s superior to a few of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in spite of everything, when you've the participant page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s nook 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 bizarre stats and enjoyable names and fantastic accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, but in a time absent of precise games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively even more central for followers: Only the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already present pages.

The site has more information out there than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for every participant, workforce, and season; for leagues ranging in skill stage throughout four continents; for every possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to have a good time the breadth of the positioning’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anyplace on the location. As befits this eighth surprise, we bought weird—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply ready for the first real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Probably the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Every time a player leads his league in a statistical category, the number on his web page is displayed in bold. 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 significance, and publishes the participant’s score at the backside of his web page as a fast and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads speak about players with a number of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my private favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God relaxation his soul, however he may completely rake. If anything about Hornsby, other than his winning persona, it’s that his career batting average, .358, is the best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb general. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting average, OBP, and slugging proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every 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, generally you simply need a stats web site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst group in MLB historical past. They are additionally my favorite group in MLB historical past. (I am keen on 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 web page reveals why.

The backstory here is that before the season, the Spiders’ owners also bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—together with Cy Younger and two different future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to type a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly obvious on the page. One of the solely indications of one thing unusual comes at the high of the web page, when B-Ref gives an choice to see the Spiders’ earlier season however not their next. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of something unusual is the information itself; B-Ref is, before everything, a treasure trove of knowledge. As an example, every team web page features a quick visible illustration of the game-by-game outcomes. Green means a win, pink 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 crimson.

Every page is crammed with storytelling statistics. So it’s simple to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however finished the season with a 4-30 report, and that the pitching employees as a whole 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 practically 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 they highlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with gamers like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this group, too, with a enjoyable title and a hilarious player photo—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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