most valuable 1988 topps baseball cards Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A player who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In these days with out MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to seek out things 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 few of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you may have the participant web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. A lot of that pleasure is tied in with searching Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and fun names and fantastic accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, however in a time absent of actual 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 only new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already present pages.

The positioning has more info available than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, workforce, and season; for leagues ranging in skill degree throughout 4 continents; for each possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to rejoice the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anyplace on the positioning. As befits this eighth surprise, we got weird—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 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 daring. If he leads all of Main League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s web page, with sure categories weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the participant’s rating at the bottom of his page as a fast and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads discuss gamers with a lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the current previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my personal favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God relaxation his soul, but he may absolutely rake. If something about Hornsby, apart from his profitable personality, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely 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 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories thrice combined, while 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 desire a stats website to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

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

The backstory right here is that before the season, the Spiders’ owners also bought 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 form a superteam. But that context isn’t immediately apparent on the page. One of many solely indications of something strange comes on the prime of the page, when B-Ref offers an choice to see the Spiders’ earlier season however not their subsequent. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of something unusual is the information itself; B-Ref is, first and foremost, a treasure trove of knowledge. For instance, each team web page includes a fast visible representation of the game-by-game results. Green means a win, purple 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 crimson.

Each page is crammed with storytelling statistics. So it’s easy to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but completed the season with a 4-30 file, and that the pitching workers as an entire completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t feature a single participant with a league-average mark or better.

The Spiders additionally exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t almost as precise as it is at the moment. Six gamers have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure 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—in addition.

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