most expensive baseball card ever Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A player who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In today with out MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to seek out things 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 a number of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in spite of everything, when you've the participant web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime residence run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. Much of that pleasure 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 treat, however in a time absent of precise video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively much more central for fans: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the only new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already current pages.

The site has more data out there than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, group, and season; for leagues ranging in skill stage across four continents; for each attainable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to rejoice the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anywhere on the site. As befits this eighth wonder, we bought bizarre—and in so doing, found 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 most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever a participant leads his league in a statistical category, the quantity on his 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 participant’s web page, with certain classes weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the player’s rating at the backside of his web page as a quick and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads speak about players with a lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my personal favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God relaxation his soul, however he may absolutely rake. If you understand something about Hornsby, aside from his successful persona, it’s that his career batting average, .358, is the best ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb total. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting average, OBP, and slugging share (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories 3 times combined, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you simply need a stats site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst crew in MLB history. They're also my favourite group in MLB history. (I adore 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 shows why.

The backstory right here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ house owners also purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—together with Cy Young and two other future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to type a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly obvious on the page. One of many solely indications of one thing strange comes on the top of the web page, when B-Ref provides an option to see the Spiders’ previous season but not their subsequent. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of something strange is the information itself; B-Ref is, at first, a treasure trove of information. As an illustration, each workforce page includes a fast visible representation of the game-by-game outcomes. 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 inexperienced 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 completed the season with a 4-30 report, and that the pitching workers as an entire finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t characteristic a single participant with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t almost as exact as it's at present. Six gamers have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain 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 staff, too, with a enjoyable title and a hilarious player photo—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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