lou brock baseball card Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A player who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In lately with out MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to search out things that remind them of what makes the sport so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth surprise of the world, and albeit, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in spite of everything, when you will have the player web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house 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 pleasure is tied in with searching Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre 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 actual games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively much more central for followers: Only the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already current pages.

The positioning has extra info available than anyone 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 attainable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to celebrate the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from wherever on the location. As befits this eighth wonder, we got bizarre—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just waiting for the primary actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of 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 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 certain classes weighted to emphasise their importance, and publishes the participant’s score on the bottom of his web page as a quick and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads talk about players with numerous 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 a real asshole, God rest his soul, but he may completely rake. If anything about Hornsby, other than his profitable persona, it’s that his profession batting average, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb overall. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting common, OBP, and slugging share (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 a lot as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, typically you simply need a stats web site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst crew in MLB historical past. They're also my favorite 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 shows why.

The backstory 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 Younger and two other future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to kind a superteam. However that context isn’t immediately obvious on the page. One of many solely indications of one thing unusual comes on the prime of the web page, when B-Ref provides an option to see the Spiders’ previous season but not their subsequent. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of one thing strange is the info itself; B-Ref is, at the beginning, a treasure trove of knowledge. As an illustration, each crew page includes a fast visible illustration of the game-by-game results. Green means a win, purple 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 red.

Each web page is full of storytelling statistics. So it’s simple to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but completed the season with a 4-30 report, and that the pitching staff as a complete completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t characteristic a single player with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t nearly as exact as it's in the present day. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness at the plate. And so they highlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with players like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this crew, too, with a fun title and a hilarious player photograph—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—besides.

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