1961 topps baseball cards Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A participant who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In lately without MLB, our employees writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to find things that remind them of what makes the game so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth marvel of the world, and frankly, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you've the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. Much of that joy is tied in with browsing 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, however in a time absent of actual games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively much more central for fans: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the only new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already existing pages.

The site has more data accessible than anybody has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, team, and season; for leagues ranging in skill degree throughout four continents; for every potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to have fun the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our 5 favourite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anywhere on the site. As befits this eighth marvel, we got weird—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just waiting for the primary real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the vital distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Every time a player leads his league in a statistical class, 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 player’s web page, with certain categories weighted to emphasise their importance, and publishes the participant’s score at the bottom of his page as a quick and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads talk about players with a whole lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my personal favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God relaxation his soul, but he could absolutely rake. If you understand something about Hornsby, aside from his profitable character, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb total. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

That’s proper, 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 mixed, 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 need a stats site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst team in MLB history. They're also my favorite staff in MLB history. (I adore them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend bought 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’ owners additionally purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Younger and two other future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to try to kind a superteam. But that context isn’t immediately apparent on the web page. One of many solely indications of something strange comes at the prime of the web page, when B-Ref offers an option to see the Spiders’ previous season but not their subsequent. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of something strange is the info itself; B-Ref is, at the beginning, a treasure trove of data. As an illustration, each staff web page features a quick visual representation of the game-by-game results. Inexperienced means a win, red 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 crimson.

Every web page is full of storytelling statistics. So it’s simple to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but finished the season with a 4-30 record, and that the pitching employees as a complete finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t function 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 in the present day. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure of their handedness at the plate. And they highlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with players like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this staff, too, with a fun name and a hilarious participant photograph—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—as well.

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