baseball supply websites Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Examine. A player who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In nowadays with out MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to find issues that remind them of what makes the game so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth surprise of the world, and albeit, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you will have the player web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime home run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. A lot of that pleasure is tied in with shopping Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and enjoyable names and improbable accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, however in a time absent of actual video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively even more central for followers: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already existing pages.

The positioning has extra data accessible than anybody has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, team, and season; for leagues ranging in ability stage throughout 4 continents; for every potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to celebrate the breadth of the positioning’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our 5 favourite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from wherever on the location. As befits this eighth wonder, we acquired bizarre—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply waiting for the first actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Probably the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Every time a participant leads his league in a statistical category, the quantity on his web page is displayed in daring. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s page, with sure categories weighted to emphasise their importance, and publishes the player’s rating at the backside of his page as a fast and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads talk about players with numerous black ink, they go to favorites from the latest previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my personal favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God rest his soul, however he might completely rake. If anything about Hornsby, apart from his profitable character, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the very best 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 year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories three times mixed, while 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 site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst workforce in MLB historical past. They are additionally my favourite workforce in MLB history. (I like them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend purchased me a vintage Spiders T-shirt as a birthday current.) And their Baseball-Reference page exhibits why.

The backstory here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ owners also bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—together with Cy Younger 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 solely indications of one thing unusual comes at the top of the page, when B-Ref provides an option to see the Spiders’ previous season but not their subsequent. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of one thing unusual is the info itself; B-Ref is, at the start, a treasure trove of data. For instance, every team web page includes a fast visual representation of the game-by-game results. Green means a win, red means a loss, and the height of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 green bars and 134 red.

Every page is stuffed with storytelling statistics. So it’s easy to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but finished the season with a 4-30 record, and that the pitching staff as a whole 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 exact as it's at this time. Six players have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure of their handedness at the plate. And so they spotlight 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 title and a hilarious player photo—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.