texas a amp m baseball coach Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A player who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In these days 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 nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to a number of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you've gotten the participant page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. Much of that pleasure is tied in with looking Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and improbable accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, but in a time absent of actual video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively much more central for fans: Only the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the only new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already existing pages.

The site has more info out there than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, workforce, and season; for leagues ranging in skill degree throughout 4 continents; for every doable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to celebrate 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 location. As befits this eighth marvel, we obtained weird—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just ready for the primary actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Probably the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Every time a player 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 each bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a participant’s web page, with sure classes weighted to emphasize their significance, and publishes the participant’s rating at the backside of his web page as a quick and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads talk about players with a number of black ink, they go to favorites from the recent 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 might completely rake. If you know something about Hornsby, apart from his successful persona, it’s that his profession batting average, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb total. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

That’s right, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes thrice combined, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, typically you just desire a stats web site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst workforce in MLB historical past. They're additionally my favorite workforce in MLB history. (I adore 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 web page reveals why.

The backstory right here is that before the season, the Spiders’ homeowners also bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Young and two other future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to try to kind a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly obvious on the page. One of the only indications of something unusual comes on the top of the web page, when B-Ref gives an choice to see the Spiders’ previous season however not their subsequent. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of something strange is the info itself; B-Ref is, initially, a treasure trove of information. As an example, each staff web page features a fast visual representation 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. Right here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 green bars and 134 purple.

Each page is crammed with 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 employees as a complete finished with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t feature a single participant 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 at the moment. Six players 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 gamers like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this team, too, with a enjoyable name and a hilarious player picture—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.