san antonio minor league baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A participant who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In lately with out MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to seek out things that remind them of what makes the sport so nice.

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, after all, when you've gotten the participant 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 bizarre stats and fun names and incredible accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, however in a time absent of actual 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 present pages.

The site has extra data accessible than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for every participant, crew, and season; for leagues ranging in talent degree across 4 continents; for every possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to rejoice the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from wherever on the site. As befits this eighth marvel, we bought weird—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply waiting for the first actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the crucial distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Each time a participant leads his league in a statistical class, 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 emphasise their importance, and publishes the participant’s rating at the bottom of his web page as a fast and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads speak about players with plenty of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest 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 may absolutely rake. If you recognize something about Hornsby, other than his winning persona, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the best ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb overall. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

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+) every single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories three times mixed, 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 need a stats web site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst team in MLB historical past. They are additionally my favorite crew in MLB historical past. (I like them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend bought me a vintage Spiders T-shirt as a birthday present.) And their Baseball-Reference page reveals why.

The backstory right here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ house owners also bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Younger and two different future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to try to type a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly obvious on the page. One of many only indications of one thing strange comes at the prime of the 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 opposite indication of something strange is the info itself; B-Ref is, before everything, a treasure trove of data. As an illustration, each team web page features a quick visual illustration of the game-by-game results. Inexperienced means a win, crimson means a loss, and the peak of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Right here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 inexperienced bars and 134 red.

Each page is full of 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 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 nearly as precise as it is right this moment. Six gamers have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness on 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 team, too, with a fun name and a hilarious player photograph—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—as well.

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