most valuable 90s baseball cards Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A participant who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double examine. In these days with out MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to find things that remind them of what makes the game so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and albeit, it’s superior to a number of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you will have 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 history. A lot of that joy is tied in with looking Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and enjoyable names and improbable accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, but in a time absent of actual games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively much 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 site has extra information accessible than anybody has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, staff, and season; for leagues ranging in skill degree across four continents; for each doable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to rejoice the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anyplace on the location. As befits this eighth marvel, we obtained bizarre—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just ready for the first actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Some of the distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Each time a participant leads his league in a statistical class, the number on his web page is displayed in daring. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s each bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s web page, with certain categories weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the participant’s score at the bottom of his page as a fast and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads speak about players with a whole lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the current past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my personal favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God relaxation his soul, however he could completely rake. If you recognize something about Hornsby, other than his successful persona, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb overall. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting common, OBP, and slugging share (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes 3 times combined, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, typically you just 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 additionally my favorite staff in MLB history. (I like 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 right here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ owners additionally purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—together with Cy Younger and two other future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to form a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly obvious on the page. One of many solely indications of something strange comes on the top of the page, when B-Ref gives an option to see the Spiders’ previous season however not their next. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of one thing unusual is the data itself; B-Ref is, before everything, a treasure trove of data. As an example, every crew web page features a quick visible illustration of the game-by-game outcomes. Green means a win, red means a loss, and the height of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Right here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 inexperienced bars and 134 crimson.

Every web page is full of storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward 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 complete finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t characteristic 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 exact as it is immediately. Six gamers have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are uncertain of their handedness at the plate. And they highlight 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 participant photograph—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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