charlotte 49ers baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A player who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In lately with out MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to search out 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 some of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in spite of everything, when you will have the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling run king of Japan?

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

The positioning has more data accessible than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, team, and season; for leagues ranging in skill degree across 4 continents; for each potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to rejoice the breadth of the positioning’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anywhere on the site. As befits this eighth wonder, we bought bizarre—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply ready for the first actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the vital distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Every time a player leads his league in a statistical class, the number on his web 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 web page, with sure classes weighted to emphasise their importance, and publishes the participant’s rating at the backside of his page as a quick and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads discuss players with a number of black ink, they go to favorites from the current past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my personal favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God rest his soul, however he could completely rake. If you recognize something about Hornsby, apart from his winning persona, 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 Nationwide League in batting common, OBP, and slugging percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes thrice mixed, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you just want a stats website to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst team in MLB history. They are additionally my favorite team in MLB history. (I am keen on them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend purchased me a classic Spiders T-shirt as a birthday current.) And their Baseball-Reference web page reveals why.

The backstory right here is that before the season, the Spiders’ homeowners also bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—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 the solely indications of one thing strange comes at the high of the page, when B-Ref gives an option to see the Spiders’ earlier season but not their subsequent. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of one thing unusual is the information itself; B-Ref is, before everything, a treasure trove of information. As an illustration, every workforce page features a quick visible 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. Right 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 however finished the season with a 4-30 file, and that the pitching employees as a whole completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t function a single participant with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t almost as exact as it's at this time. Six gamers have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness at 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 workforce, too, with a fun identify and a hilarious participant picture—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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