durham bulls baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A participant who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double examine. In these days without MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to search out issues that remind them of what makes the sport so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and frankly, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you have got the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house 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 joy 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 deal with, but in a time absent of precise games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively much more central for fans: Only the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already present pages.

The positioning has more information accessible than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, team, and season; for leagues ranging in talent level across 4 continents; for every possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to rejoice the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our 5 favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anyplace on the location. As befits this eighth surprise, we received weird—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just ready for the first real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Some of the distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” At any time when a player leads his league in a statistical class, the quantity on his web page is displayed in daring. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s each bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s web page, with certain classes weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the participant’s rating at the backside of his web page as a quick and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads talk about gamers with numerous black ink, they go to favorites from the recent previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my personal favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God relaxation his soul, however he might completely rake. If you already know anything about Hornsby, apart from his profitable 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 considerably.

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+) each single year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes three times combined, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you just want a stats site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst workforce in MLB history. They are also 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 present.) And their Baseball-Reference page reveals why.

The backstory right here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ house owners additionally purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—together with Cy Younger and two other future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to form a superteam. But that context isn’t immediately apparent on the page. One of many solely indications of something unusual comes on the prime of the web page, when B-Ref provides an option to see the Spiders’ previous season however not their subsequent. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of one thing unusual is the data itself; B-Ref is, before everything, a treasure trove of knowledge. For example, every crew web page features a quick visual representation of the game-by-game results. Green 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 crimson.

Each web page is full of storytelling statistics. So it’s simple to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however 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 participant with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as exact as it's in the present day. Six gamers have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure of their handedness on the plate. And they spotlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with gamers like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this team, too, with a fun identify and a hilarious player photo—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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