baseball gift ideas Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A participant who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In nowadays with out MLB, our employees writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to search out things that remind them of what makes the sport so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to a few of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you could have the player web 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. A lot of that joy is tied in with shopping Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and improbable accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, but in a time absent of precise video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively even more central for fans: Only the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already current pages.

The location has extra data obtainable than anybody has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, team, and season; for leagues ranging in skill level across 4 continents; for every potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to celebrate the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anyplace on the site. As befits this eighth surprise, we acquired bizarre—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply ready for the first real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever a player leads his league in a statistical category, 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 page, with certain classes weighted to emphasise their importance, and publishes the player’s score on the bottom of his web page as a fast and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads talk about players with lots of black ink, they go to favorites from the current past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my private favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God relaxation his soul, however he might absolutely rake. If you understand something about Hornsby, other than his winning persona, it’s that his career batting average, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb overall. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes 3 times combined, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you simply desire a stats web site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst crew in MLB history. They are additionally my favorite crew 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 web page shows why.

The backstory right here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ house owners also bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—including Cy Young and two different future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to try to type a superteam. However that context isn’t immediately apparent on the web page. One of the only indications of one thing unusual comes at the prime of the page, when B-Ref provides an option to see the Spiders’ earlier season however not their subsequent. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of one thing strange is the info itself; B-Ref is, initially, a treasure trove of data. For instance, every crew web page features a fast visual illustration of the game-by-game outcomes. Inexperienced means a win, purple 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 red.

Each page is stuffed 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 workers as an entire completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t characteristic a single player with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t nearly as precise as it is today. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness on the plate. And so 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 fun title and a hilarious player photograph—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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