toddler baseball cap Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Test. A participant who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In these days with out MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to search out issues that remind them of what makes the sport so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and admittedly, it’s superior to a number of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you've the player web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling 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 joy is tied in with browsing Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and incredible accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, but in a time absent of actual games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively even 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 positioning has extra info out there than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, group, and season; for leagues ranging in skill level across 4 continents; for every possible statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to rejoice the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, choosing our five favorite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from wherever on the location. As befits this eighth surprise, we got bizarre—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.

Some of the distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Each time a participant leads his league in a statistical category, the number on his web page is displayed in bold. If he leads all of Main League Baseball, it’s each bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s page, with sure classes weighted to emphasize their significance, and publishes the player’s rating at the backside of his page as a fast and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads discuss players with a variety 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 may absolutely rake. If you understand anything about Hornsby, apart from his profitable personality, it’s that his career batting average, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb overall. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National 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 thrice mixed, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you simply want a stats site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst staff in MLB historical past. They are also my favorite workforce in MLB history. (I am keen on them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend purchased me a vintage Spiders T-shirt as a birthday present.) And their Baseball-Reference web page exhibits why.

The backstory here is that earlier than the season, the Spiders’ house owners also purchased the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—together with Cy Younger and two other future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to type a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly obvious on the web page. One of the only indications of something unusual comes on the top of the page, when B-Ref provides an choice to see the Spiders’ earlier season however not their next. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of one thing strange is the data itself; B-Ref is, at the start, a treasure trove of data. For instance, each staff web page features a quick visual illustration of the game-by-game results. Inexperienced means a win, red 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 purple.

Each page is filled with storytelling statistics. So it’s simple to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however completed the season with a 4-30 record, and that the pitching employees as a whole completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t function a single participant with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t almost as precise as it's at this time. Six gamers have a “?” next 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 gamers like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this staff, too, with a fun title and a hilarious participant picture—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—besides.

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