high school baseball boys Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Examine. A participant who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In today without MLB, our workers 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 marvel of the world, and frankly, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in spite of everything, when you've the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime residence run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. A lot of that pleasure is tied in with looking Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and enjoyable names and improbable accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, however in a time absent of precise video 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 one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already existing pages.

The positioning has more information obtainable than anybody has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, team, and season; for leagues ranging in ability stage throughout 4 continents; for each doable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to rejoice the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from wherever on the positioning. As befits this eighth surprise, we bought weird—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just ready for the first actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the crucial distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Every time a participant leads his league in a statistical class, the number on his web 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 certain classes weighted to emphasise their significance, and publishes the player’s score at the bottom of his page as a fast and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads discuss players with a lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the current previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my private favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God relaxation his soul, but he may absolutely rake. If you know something about Hornsby, aside from his successful character, it’s that his career batting average, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb overall. 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+) every single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories three times mixed, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you just desire a stats website to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst group in MLB history. They're additionally my favourite staff in MLB historical past. (I adore 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 shows why.

The backstory here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ homeowners also bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Young and two different future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to kind a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly obvious on the web page. One of the only indications of something unusual comes at the top of the page, when B-Ref provides an choice to see the Spiders’ previous season however not their next. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of something strange is the info itself; B-Ref is, at first, a treasure trove of information. As an illustration, each crew page includes a fast visual representation of the game-by-game results. Inexperienced means a win, red means a loss, and the height of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 green bars and 134 purple.

Each web page is crammed with storytelling statistics. So it’s simple to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but finished the season with a 4-30 document, and that the pitching workers as a complete completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t feature a single player with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as precise as it is in the present day. Six gamers have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness on the plate. They usually highlight 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 enjoyable title and a hilarious participant photo—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

#2