funny baseball shirts Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A player who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In lately without MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to find things that remind them of what makes the game so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth surprise of the world, and frankly, it’s superior to some of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in spite of everything, when you may have the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house 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 joy is tied in with browsing 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, however in a time absent of actual games—Opening Day was originally 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 present pages.

The site has extra info obtainable than anybody has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, workforce, and season; for leagues ranging in skill degree across 4 continents; for every attainable 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, chosen from anyplace on the positioning. As befits this eighth surprise, we bought bizarre—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply waiting for the primary real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

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

When most statheads discuss players with quite a lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my private favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God rest his soul, however he might completely rake. If you realize something about Hornsby, apart from his successful personality, it’s that his career batting average, .358, is the 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 Nationwide League in batting common, OBP, and slugging proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories thrice mixed, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, typically you just desire a stats site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst crew in MLB historical past. They are also my favourite 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 present.) And their Baseball-Reference page exhibits why.

The backstory right here is that before the season, the Spiders’ homeowners also purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—including Cy Young and two different future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to form a superteam. However that context isn’t immediately obvious on the page. One of the only indications of something unusual comes at the high of the web page, when B-Ref gives an option to see the Spiders’ previous season but not their next. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of one thing unusual is the data itself; B-Ref is, at first, a treasure trove of knowledge. For instance, each group web page features a fast visible representation of the game-by-game results. Inexperienced means a win, red 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 pink.

Each page is full of storytelling statistics. So it’s easy 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 an entire completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t characteristic a single participant with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as exact as it's today. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure of their handedness at the plate. And 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 fun title and a hilarious player photo—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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