distressed baseball cap Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A participant who might 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 full database to seek out issues that remind them of what makes the game so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth marvel of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to a number of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you have got 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 historical past. Much of that pleasure is tied in with looking Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and implausible accomplishments and all of these 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 turns into 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 site has more information available than anybody has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, crew, and season; for leagues ranging in talent degree throughout 4 continents; for each 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, choosing our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anywhere 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 simply waiting for the first real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Probably the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Each time a participant leads his league in a statistical category, the number on his page is displayed in daring. If he leads all of Main League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a participant’s page, with sure classes weighted to emphasise their significance, and publishes the player’s score on the backside of his page as a quick and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads speak about gamers with a lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the current past, 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 something about Hornsby, aside from his successful 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 overall. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting common, OBP, and slugging percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes 3 times mixed, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, typically you simply desire a stats website to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst staff in MLB history. They are also my favourite staff in MLB historical past. (I am keen on them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend purchased me a vintage Spiders T-shirt as a birthday present.) And their Baseball-Reference page reveals why.

The backstory right here is that before the season, the Spiders’ owners additionally bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Younger and two different future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to type a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly obvious on the web page. One of the only indications of one thing unusual comes on the high of the web page, when B-Ref gives an option to see the Spiders’ earlier season however not their next. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of one thing unusual is the info itself; B-Ref is, initially, a treasure trove of data. As an example, every crew page includes a fast visual representation of the game-by-game results. Inexperienced means a win, pink means a loss, and the peak of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Right here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 green bars and 134 purple.

Each page is crammed 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 file, and that the pitching employees as a whole completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t feature a single participant with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as exact as it is today. Six gamers have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure 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 staff, too, with a enjoyable title and a hilarious participant photograph—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—besides.

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