1987 topps baseball cards value Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A participant who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In these days with out MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to search out things 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 a number of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in spite of everything, when you've gotten the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime home run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the web is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. A lot of that pleasure is tied in with looking Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and enjoyable names and improbable accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, however in a time absent of precise video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively much more central for fans: Only the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the only new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already current pages.

The positioning has more information obtainable than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, workforce, and season; for leagues ranging in ability level throughout 4 continents; for each doable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to celebrate the breadth of the positioning’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anyplace on the positioning. As befits this eighth wonder, we obtained bizarre—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply ready for the primary real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Some of the distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever a participant leads his league in a statistical class, the number on his page is displayed in bold. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s each bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a participant’s web page, with sure classes weighted to emphasise their significance, and publishes the participant’s rating on the backside of his page as a quick and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads discuss gamers with a lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the recent previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my private favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God rest his soul, but he may absolutely rake. If you understand something about Hornsby, apart from his winning character, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb overall. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting common, OBP, and slugging proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes 3 times mixed, whereas 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. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst workforce in MLB history. They're also my favourite team in MLB history. (I like 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 page shows why.

The backstory here is that before the season, the Spiders’ homeowners additionally purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Younger and two different future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to try to form a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly obvious on the web page. One of the solely indications of something unusual comes on the prime of the web page, when B-Ref gives an option to see the Spiders’ earlier season but not their subsequent. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of one thing unusual is the information itself; B-Ref is, initially, a treasure trove of data. For example, each team page features a quick visual representation of the game-by-game outcomes. Inexperienced means a win, red 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 purple.

Every web page is filled with storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however finished the season with a 4-30 file, and that the pitching staff as a whole finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t feature a single participant with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t nearly as precise as it is right now. Six gamers have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness at 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 team, too, with a enjoyable identify and a hilarious participant picture—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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