It is a good idea to think about the search terms you are interested in from multiple angles. The main search fields are Named People, General Topics and Specific Topics. These can be searched separately or in conjunction. Hints are provided based on the search field. Scroll down to the field you are interested in.
For people, we use the names as recorded at baseball-reference.com. Thus, Grover Cleveland Alexander is recorded as Pete Alexander, the name by which he was known when he pitched. In some cases, the player may be listed by both his nickname and the name he was known by.
The distinction between General Topics and Specific Topics is a convention thrust upon us by the limits of database software. For searches to go smoothly, the terms researchers are looking for and the terms data entry people are using must be identical. A computer is very literal and doesn't make allowances for the differences of human brains. The software contains a list of the approved terms. For example, both "ballparks" and "stadiums" are legitimate search terms. However, only one can be used, and we chose stadiums. Thus, the software will compare a search or a new entry against the approved list of search terms and kick back those which don't match. While cumbersome at times, this does insure uniformity. The Thesaurus dropdown menu contains the list of approved search terms. If you're not sure whether a topic is in the General or Specific category, check the dropdown menu included in General Topics. You might also look at ThesaurusHelp, a spreadsheet which can give you alternatives for finding the correct search term.
However, there is no way we can cover every eventuality that might be written about. And, to extend the stadiums example above, there is no way we can anticipate the names of all the possible minor league ballparks, college ballparks, amateur ballparks and other places to play that might come up. Similarly, we can't anticipate all the team names, diseases, game dates, place names and similar items. Hence the Specific Topics.
Thus, if the article is about Fenway Park, put Stadiums in General Topics and Fenway Park in Specific Topics. If it's about the Newark Bears, put Minor League Baseball in General Topics and Newark Bears and/or International League in Specific Topics.
In General Topics, team names are limited to the Cincinnati Red Stockings of 1869, the current 30 major league franchise names, and names by which teams were known for long periods of time, such as Montreal Expos, Brooklyn Dodgers or Cleveland Indians. Other team nicknames – Boston Doves, Brooklyn Bridegrooms, New York Highlanders, etc. – are only in Specific Topics. A search might well include both terms in their respective fields.
One other important convention in Specific Topics – dates are rendered as 1800c (the 19th century), 1910d (the decade from 1910-1919), and 1921y (that year). Individual games are 10031951g (October 3, 1951) while non-game events are 12081962d (December 8, 1962).