I spend a lot of time on Baseball-Reference. Apart from it being my job to do research and correctly relay player statistics to you, the readers, I enjoy looking back at old names from the late-90s and 2000s to see if they were as good as I remember them in my head. Casey Blake? Better than I remember. Mark Teahen? Far worse than I remember. Jack Cust? Baller!
I couldn’t tell you who my most looked-at player is. I spend a lot of time comparing elite-level players to Mike Trout. Maybe it’s him. Maybe it’s Bryce Harper because I spend every waking moment of my day trying to convince myself he’s not as good as people give him credit for. I don’t know. Thankfully, Baseball-Reference has been keeping track of this type of stuff.
This is interesting. It may not be interesting to you, but this is my article. I get to write about whatever tickles my fancy. Ha Ha! Neener neener!
In Albert Pujols’ final year, it makes sense that 25 states would want to look him up. I know I did a lot this year. He’s a living legend who was presumed to be far past his prime prior to 2022. He was incredible this season though, far better than what he’d accomplished the last several years with the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers. For more than a few articles this year, I had to compare this season to his last five years in L.A., figuring out exactly how he got his swagger back at 42 years old. Also, look at Aaron Judge. With how incredible his season was, it makes sense why so many people wanted to look him up — 15 states searched for the American League MVP more than anyone else.
There are some others that make sense too. Barry Bonds was a freak of nature, and even though he had zero ties to Wyoming, it makes sense why people would look him up. Matt Olson wasn’t quite as good in his first year with Atlanta as he was with Oakland, but he was a pretty big signing, and probably relatively unknown in Alabama. Considering most people in Alabama gravitate toward the Braves — especially after they won the 2021 World Series — Olson’s popularity in the Heart of Dixie makes sense.
Christian Yelich in Wisconsin, Miguel Cabrera in Michigan, Gio Urshela in South Dakota (borders Minnesota at least), and even Freddie Freeman in New Mexico (although he has no ties) are all examples of high-profile players getting looked at in states with an active fanbase of each player’s respective team. As odd as it is to see George Brett’s name on any graphic in the 2020s with the word “popular” in it, he’s still a Hall of Famer and widely considered the best Kansas City Royal of all-time. It’s strange, sure, but not totally absurd, y’know? Then, there’s the two black sheep.
Why in the world is Hawaii looking up Dylan Moore? Was he born in Hawaii? No. Did he play college ball in Hawaii? No. Did he play in an amateur or collegiate league in Hawaii? No. Is he an incredible ballplayer worth looking up? Not really. I mean, his batter’s eye is incredible. His 13.3 percent walk rate in 2022 ranked 15th in 2022 among players with at least 250 plate appearances. He’s also pretty fast for someone who walks as often as he does. That said, does this sound like a player the Hawaiians would be enthralled with? I wouldn’t think so.
I do have a theory though. See, when you Google “Dylan Moore Hawaii,” results come up of a professor of economics at the University of Hawai’i Economic Research Organization. Yeah, I know this is a stretch, but how else do you suppose Dylan Moore was such a widely-searched baseball player in the Pacific Islands, huh? I’m listening for theories, because this is as good as I can do. My thought is that when students or people in economics look up Dylan Moore in Hawaii, they click on the first link they find. Lo and behold, the first link that comes up when you Google “Dylan Moore” is his Baseball-Reference page. Coincidence? I think not!
Dylan Moore is at least an active baseball player though. At least he’s a name people might throw around at a bar while rattling off random athletes. You know who is never going to come up in those types of conversations? Pete Browning!
Any ties to Delaware? No. Hall of Famer? No. Played this century? No. Played last century? No. Spent a full season on a team that still exists? (That includes the oddly named Cleveland Infants.) No. Browning was a three-time batting champion in 1882, 1885, and 1890. Plus, back in 1887, he became the first player ever to hit over .400 across 600 or more plate appearances. Coincidentally, he didn’t win the batting title that year. That’s all that Browning has going for him.
I don’t even have a theory as to why Browning is so popular out in The First State. The only Google results that come up when you search “Pete Browning Delaware” are people on Twitter wondering why Pete Browning is such a popular baseball search in Delaware. That’s one hell of a circular Google search, huh? Maybe Baseball-Reference itself is headquartered in Delaware and there was an inside joke at the company about Browning? No. Sports Reference, LLC is located in Philadelphia, so this really makes no sense at all.
I guess that’s fitting for baseball though. The sport doesn’t make any sense, so it’s only logical to assume that baseball search results wouldn’t either. Still, I’m perplexed at Delaware’s infatuation with Browning. What is it about this late 19th century ball player that has everyone in Dover looking him up? I haven’t the slightest clue, but I’m definitely not getting in a baseball argument with anyone from there any time soon. They probably know way more about baseball history than me.