1991 donruss baseball cards most valuable Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Examine. A participant who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In as of late with out MLB, our employees 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 great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to some of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you have got the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime home 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 pleasure is tied in with searching Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and incredible accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, however in a time absent of actual video games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively much more central for followers: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already present pages.

The site has more data obtainable than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, workforce, and season; for leagues ranging in talent stage across 4 continents; for every potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to rejoice the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anyplace on the location. As befits this eighth surprise, we obtained weird—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just ready for the first actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the vital distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” At any time when a player 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 each bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a participant’s page, with sure classes weighted to emphasise their importance, and publishes the player’s score at the bottom of his page as a fast and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads speak about players with a number of black ink, they go to favorites from the current previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my personal favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God rest his soul, but he may completely rake. If something about Hornsby, aside from his profitable persona, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the highest 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 common, OBP, and slugging share (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes three times combined, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you just need a stats site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst group in MLB history. They are additionally my favourite team in MLB historical past. (I am keen on 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 reveals why.

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

The other indication of one thing strange is the information itself; B-Ref is, in the beginning, a treasure trove of information. For example, every workforce web page features a fast visible representation of the game-by-game outcomes. Green means a win, crimson means a loss, and the height of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 inexperienced bars and 134 purple.

Every web page is crammed with storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but finished the season with a 4-30 record, and that the pitching workers as a whole completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t function a single player 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 is in the present day. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness on 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 crew, too, with a enjoyable name and a hilarious player photo—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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