ho chunk baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Examine. A participant who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In lately with out MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to seek out issues that remind them of what makes the game 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, after all, when you've gotten the participant web 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 historical past. A lot of that pleasure is tied in with looking Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and enjoyable names and incredible accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, but in a time absent of actual video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively even more central for fans: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already current pages.

The site has extra info available than anybody has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, group, and season; for leagues ranging in talent level throughout 4 continents; for every potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to celebrate the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anywhere on the location. As befits this eighth surprise, 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 class, the number on his web 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 page, with sure categories weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the participant’s rating on the bottom of his web page as a fast and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads speak about gamers with a variety of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my private favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God relaxation his soul, but he could absolutely rake. If you already know anything about Hornsby, other than his winning character, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb total. 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 yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories three times mixed, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you just need a stats site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

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

The backstory here is that before the season, the Spiders’ house owners also purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Younger and two other future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to try to form a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly apparent on the page. One of the solely indications of something strange comes on the top of the web page, when B-Ref provides an choice to see the Spiders’ previous season however not their subsequent. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of something unusual is the info itself; B-Ref is, at the beginning, a treasure trove of knowledge. As an illustration, each team web page includes a quick visible representation of the game-by-game outcomes. Green means a win, crimson means a loss, and the peak of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Right here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 inexperienced bars and 134 crimson.

Every web page is filled with storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but finished the season with a 4-30 report, and that the pitching workers as an entire finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t feature a single participant with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t nearly as exact as it is at present. Six players have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness at the plate. And so they spotlight 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 identify and a hilarious participant picture—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—as well.

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