baseball bat in pussy Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A player who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double examine. In lately with out MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to find things that remind them of what makes the sport so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth surprise of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to a number of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you will have the participant web 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. Much of that joy is tied in with looking 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 treat, however in a time absent of actual games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively much more central for followers: Only 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 info available than anybody has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, group, and season; for leagues ranging in talent stage throughout four continents; for every possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to rejoice the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anyplace on the site. As befits this eighth surprise, we received weird—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just waiting for the first real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” At any time when a participant leads his league in a statistical category, the quantity on his page is displayed in bold. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s web page, with sure categories weighted to emphasize their significance, and publishes the participant’s rating at the bottom of his web page as a quick and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads talk about gamers with a variety 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 rest his soul, however he may completely rake. If you know something about Hornsby, other than his winning character, it’s that his career batting average, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb total. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting common, OBP, and slugging percentage (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 a lot as I like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you just desire a stats web site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst group in MLB historical past. They are also my favourite staff in MLB historical past. (I like 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 web page exhibits why.

The backstory right here is that before the season, the Spiders’ owners also bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—including Cy Younger and two different future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to form a superteam. But that context isn’t immediately obvious on the web page. One of the only indications of one thing strange comes on the top 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 unusual is the data itself; B-Ref is, before everything, a treasure trove of knowledge. As an example, each team page features a fast visual representation of the game-by-game outcomes. Inexperienced 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.

Each page is crammed with storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but completed the season with a 4-30 file, and that the pitching employees as an entire completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t feature a single player 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 uncertain of their handedness on 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 enjoyable title and a hilarious participant photo—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.