most expensive baseball card in the world Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A participant who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double examine. In as of late without MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to seek out issues 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 a number of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you could have the player web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime residence run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. A lot of that joy is tied in with looking Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and fun names and incredible accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, however in a time absent of actual video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively even more central for followers: Only the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already existing pages.

The positioning has more information out there than anybody has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, group, and season; for leagues ranging in ability degree throughout 4 continents; for every doable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to have a good time the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anyplace on the site. As befits this eighth marvel, we bought bizarre—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply waiting for the primary real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the crucial distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Each time a player leads his league in a statistical category, the quantity on his web page is displayed in bold. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s each bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a participant’s page, with sure classes weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the participant’s score at 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 players with quite a lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the current past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my personal favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God rest his soul, but he may completely rake. If you recognize anything about Hornsby, other than his successful persona, it’s that his profession batting average, .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 proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories three times combined, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, typically you simply want a stats web site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst workforce in MLB history. They're also my favourite team in MLB history. (I adore 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 right here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ 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 attempt to type a superteam. But that context isn’t immediately apparent on the web page. One of many solely indications of something strange comes at the top of the web page, when B-Ref provides an choice to see the Spiders’ previous season but not their subsequent. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of one thing unusual is the information itself; B-Ref is, initially, a treasure trove of information. For instance, every group page features a fast visual illustration of the game-by-game results. Inexperienced means a win, crimson 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.

Every page is stuffed with storytelling statistics. So it’s simple to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however completed the season with a 4-30 record, and that the pitching workers as a whole completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t function a single player 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 is as we speak. Six players have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness on the plate. And so they spotlight 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 enjoyable name and a hilarious player photo—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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