is there baseball in the olympics Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A player who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In lately without MLB, our employees writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to seek out issues 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, after all, when you could have the participant page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the web is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. Much of that joy is tied in with browsing Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and fun names and unbelievable accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, however in a time absent of actual 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 only new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already current pages.

The location has extra info obtainable than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, group, and season; for leagues ranging in ability degree across 4 continents; for every potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to have fun the breadth of the positioning’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our 5 favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anywhere on the site. As befits this eighth wonder, we received weird—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply ready for the primary real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Probably the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Every time a participant leads his league in a statistical class, the number on his page is displayed in daring. If he leads all of Main League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a participant’s web page, with certain categories weighted to emphasise their significance, and publishes the player’s score at the backside of his web page as a quick and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads discuss gamers with numerous black ink, they go to favorites from the latest previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my personal favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God rest his soul, however he may completely rake. If you know anything about Hornsby, aside from his successful personality, it’s that his profession batting average, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb general. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting common, OBP, and slugging proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes three times mixed, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you just need a stats website to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst crew in MLB historical past. They're additionally my favourite team in MLB historical past. (I adore them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend bought me a classic Spiders T-shirt as a birthday current.) 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—including Cy Young and two other future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to form a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly obvious on the web page. One of many solely indications of one thing unusual comes at the high of the web page, when B-Ref provides an choice to see the Spiders’ earlier season but not their next. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of something strange is the information itself; B-Ref is, firstly, a treasure trove of knowledge. As an example, every crew page features a fast visible representation of the game-by-game outcomes. Inexperienced means a win, pink 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 pink.

Each page is filled with storytelling statistics. So it’s easy to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however completed the season with a 4-30 document, and that the pitching employees 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 precise as it's at this time. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure of their handedness at the plate. They usually spotlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with players like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this workforce, too, with a fun identify and a hilarious player photo—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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