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

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and frankly, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in spite of everything, when you've gotten the player 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. Much of that joy is tied in with shopping Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun 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 initially slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively even more central for fans: 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 accessible than anybody has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every 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 rejoice the breadth of the positioning’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from wherever on the location. As befits this eighth marvel, we acquired bizarre—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just waiting for the first actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the vital distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Each time a participant leads his league in a statistical category, the number on his web 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 sure classes weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the participant’s rating on the bottom of his web page as a fast and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads talk about players with lots of black ink, they go to favorites from the current previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my private favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God relaxation his soul, however he might absolutely rake. If you recognize anything about Hornsby, apart from his winning personality, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb general. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting average, OBP, and slugging share (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single year. 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 really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you just desire a stats web site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst group in MLB history. They're also my favorite crew in MLB history. (I adore them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend purchased me a classic Spiders T-shirt as a birthday current.) And their Baseball-Reference page exhibits why.

The backstory here is that before the season, the Spiders’ house owners additionally purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Young and two different future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to kind a superteam. However that context isn’t immediately apparent on the page. One of many solely indications of one thing strange comes at the top of the web page, when B-Ref gives an choice to see the Spiders’ previous season but not their next. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of something strange is the information itself; B-Ref is, initially, a treasure trove of information. For example, every team page includes a fast visible representation of the game-by-game outcomes. Inexperienced means a win, purple means a loss, and the height of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Right here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 green bars and 134 red.

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

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as precise as it's at present. Six players have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness at the plate. And they spotlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with players like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this team, too, with a enjoyable title and a hilarious player photograph—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—as well.

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