most valuable 1987 topps baseball cards Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A participant who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In today without 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 nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and frankly, it’s superior to a number of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you have got the participant web 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 pleasure is tied in with searching Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and fun names and fantastic 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 originally slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively even more central for followers: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already existing pages.

The location has more info accessible than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for every player, staff, and season; for leagues ranging in skill stage across 4 continents; for every possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to celebrate the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from wherever on the positioning. As befits this eighth surprise, we acquired weird—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just ready for the primary real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the vital distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Each time a participant leads his league in a statistical category, the number 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 player’s page, with sure categories weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the player’s rating on the backside of his web page as a quick and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads talk about players with plenty of black ink, they go to favorites from the recent past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my private favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God relaxation his soul, but he might absolutely rake. If anything about Hornsby, aside from his winning persona, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb general. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes thrice combined, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you simply desire a stats site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst staff in MLB history. They're also my favorite team in MLB historical past. (I am keen on them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend bought me a vintage Spiders T-shirt as a birthday current.) And their Baseball-Reference web page exhibits why.

The backstory here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ owners also 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 form a superteam. However that context isn’t immediately apparent on the web page. One of the solely indications of something strange comes on the top of the page, when B-Ref offers an option to see the Spiders’ earlier season but not their subsequent. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of something unusual is the information itself; B-Ref is, at first, a treasure trove of data. For example, each team web page includes a quick visible illustration of the game-by-game results. Green means a win, crimson means a loss, and the peak of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 green bars and 134 pink.

Every page is crammed with storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however finished the season with a 4-30 document, and that the pitching workers as a complete finished 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 practically as precise as it is right now. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness at the plate. And so they highlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with gamers like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this crew, too, with a fun identify and a hilarious participant photo—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—besides.

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