baseball candy Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A player who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In these days without MLB, our employees writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to search out issues that remind them of what makes the game so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth marvel of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to some of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you might have the participant 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 history. Much of that joy is tied in with browsing Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and implausible accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, but in a time absent of actual games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it turns into 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 info available than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, group, and season; for leagues ranging in skill degree across four continents; for each potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to celebrate the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from wherever on the positioning. As befits this eighth wonder, we acquired weird—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just ready for the primary actual 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 web page is displayed in daring. 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 certain classes weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the player’s rating at the backside of his page as a quick and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads talk about gamers with numerous black ink, they go to favorites from the recent past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my personal favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God rest his soul, but he could completely rake. If you understand anything about Hornsby, aside from his winning character, it’s that his career batting average, .358, is the best ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb total. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting average, OBP, and slugging share (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes three times mixed, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you simply desire a stats website to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst team in MLB historical past. They are additionally my favourite 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 right here is that before the season, the Spiders’ house owners additionally purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—together with Cy Young and two different future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to form a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly obvious on the page. One of many solely indications of one thing strange comes on the prime of the page, when B-Ref offers 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, at the start, a treasure trove of knowledge. As an example, each crew page features a quick visual illustration of the game-by-game outcomes. Green means a win, red means a loss, and the peak of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 green bars and 134 pink.

Each 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 document, and that the pitching employees as a whole finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t feature a single player with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as exact as it is at the moment. 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 players like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this team, too, with a enjoyable identify and a hilarious participant photo—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—as well.

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