how are baseballs made Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Examine. A player who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In nowadays with out MLB, our employees writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to seek out things that remind them of what makes the sport so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth surprise of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to some of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in spite of everything, when you have got the participant page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the web is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. Much of that joy is tied in with shopping Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and enjoyable names and implausible accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, but in a time absent of actual games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively even more central for fans: Only the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already existing pages.

The site has extra information out there than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, workforce, and season; for leagues ranging in talent degree throughout four continents; for every doable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to have fun the breadth of the positioning’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from wherever on the site. As befits this eighth surprise, we got weird—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply waiting for the first actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” At any time when a participant leads his league in a statistical class, the number on his page is displayed in bold. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s page, with certain classes weighted to emphasize their significance, and publishes the participant’s score on the bottom of his web page as a fast and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads speak about gamers with loads of black ink, they go to favorites from the recent previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my private favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God rest his soul, but he may absolutely rake. If you know anything about Hornsby, apart from his winning personality, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the best ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb general. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes thrice mixed, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, typically you simply need a stats site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst workforce in MLB historical past. They are additionally my favorite staff in MLB historical past. (I like 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 web page shows why.

The backstory here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ homeowners additionally 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. But that context isn’t immediately obvious on the web page. One of many solely indications of one thing strange comes at the prime of the web page, when B-Ref gives an option to see the Spiders’ earlier season but not their subsequent. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of something strange is the information itself; B-Ref is, first and foremost, a treasure trove of data. For instance, each workforce page features a quick visible illustration 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 inexperienced bars and 134 pink.

Every 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 report, and that the pitching employees as a complete completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t function a single participant with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t nearly as exact as it's at this time. Six gamers have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness on the plate. They usually spotlight 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 fun name and a hilarious participant picture—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—as well.

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