three rivers baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A player who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double examine. In today without MLB, our employees 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 marvel of the world, and frankly, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you've gotten the player 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 historical past. Much of that pleasure is tied in with shopping Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and implausible accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, however in a time absent of precise games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it turns into 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 present pages.

The site has more information obtainable than anybody has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every participant, crew, and season; for leagues ranging in skill stage throughout 4 continents; for each doable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to have a good time the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from wherever on the site. As befits this eighth wonder, we received bizarre—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply ready for the first real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the crucial distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” At any time when a participant leads his league in a statistical class, the quantity on his web 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 participant’s page, with certain classes weighted to emphasize their significance, and publishes the player’s rating on the bottom of his page as a quick and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads speak about players with quite a lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the recent previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my private favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God rest his soul, however he could absolutely rake. If you realize something about Hornsby, aside from his profitable character, it’s that his career batting average, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second only 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 proportion (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes three times combined, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you just desire a stats website to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst crew in MLB historical past. They are additionally my favorite staff 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 current.) And their Baseball-Reference page exhibits why.

The backstory right here is that earlier than 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 Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to type a superteam. However that context isn’t immediately obvious on the web page. One of many only indications of one thing unusual comes on the prime of the web page, when B-Ref provides 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 info itself; B-Ref is, at the start, a treasure trove of information. As an example, every group web page includes a fast visual representation of the game-by-game outcomes. 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 inexperienced bars and 134 red.

Each page is crammed with storytelling statistics. So it’s easy to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however completed the season with a 4-30 report, and that the pitching staff as a whole 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 nearly as exact as it is as we speak. Six players have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness at the plate. And so they highlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with players like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this workforce, too, with a fun name and a hilarious player picture—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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