diamond baseball bucket Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Examine. A participant who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In as of late without MLB, our employees writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to seek out issues that remind them of what makes the sport so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to some of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you've got the participant page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. A lot of that pleasure is tied in with shopping Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and enjoyable names and implausible accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, but in a time absent of precise video games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively even more central for fans: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the only new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already current pages.

The location has more data obtainable than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, group, and season; for leagues ranging in skill level throughout four continents; for every possible 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 five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anywhere on the positioning. As befits this eighth surprise, we got bizarre—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply waiting for the primary real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Probably the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Each time a player leads his league in a statistical class, the number on his page is displayed in bold. If he leads all of Main 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 emphasize their significance, and publishes the participant’s score on the bottom of his web page as a quick and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads discuss gamers with a number of black ink, they go to favorites from the current previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my private favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God relaxation his soul, but he might completely rake. If you already know something about Hornsby, apart from his winning character, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb general. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting average, OBP, and slugging proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single year. 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 simply desire a stats web site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst crew in MLB historical past. They are additionally my favorite group 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 reveals why.

The backstory right here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ house owners also purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—including Cy Younger and two other future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to type a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly apparent on the page. One of many only indications of one thing unusual comes on the high of the web page, when B-Ref provides an choice to see the Spiders’ earlier season but not their subsequent. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of something unusual is the info itself; B-Ref is, at first, a treasure trove of knowledge. As an example, each staff page features a quick visible illustration of the game-by-game outcomes. Inexperienced means a win, pink 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 red.

Every 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 record, and that the pitching workers as an entire completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t feature a single player with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as exact as it is right now. Six gamers have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain 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 crew, too, with a enjoyable title and a hilarious participant picture—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—as well.

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