valuable baseball cards from the 80s Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A player who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double test. In today without MLB, our employees writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to search out things that remind them of what makes the sport so great.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth surprise 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've got the participant web page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the web 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 unbelievable accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, however in a time absent of precise games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively much more central for followers: Only the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already current pages.

The positioning has more info available than anybody has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for every participant, group, and season; for leagues ranging in skill degree throughout four continents; for each potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to celebrate the breadth of the positioning’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from wherever on the positioning. As befits this eighth wonder, we obtained bizarre—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply ready for the primary real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever a participant leads his league in a statistical class, the number 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 participant’s page, with sure classes weighted to emphasize their importance, and publishes the player’s rating on the bottom of his web page as a fast and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads discuss gamers with loads of black ink, they go to favorites from the latest past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my personal favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God rest his soul, but he could absolutely rake. If you recognize something about Hornsby, aside from his profitable character, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb overall. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the Nationwide League in batting common, OBP, and slugging percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories thrice combined, whereas Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, sometimes you just need a stats web site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst staff in MLB historical past. They're also my favorite group 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 page shows why.

The backstory here is that before the season, the Spiders’ homeowners also bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—together with Cy Young and two other future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to kind a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly obvious on the page. One of the only indications of one thing strange comes at the prime of the page, when B-Ref offers an choice to see the Spiders’ previous season but not their next. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The opposite indication of something strange is the information itself; B-Ref is, initially, a treasure trove of information. As an example, every staff web page features a quick visual illustration of the game-by-game results. Inexperienced means a win, purple means a loss, and the height of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 inexperienced bars and 134 crimson.

Every web page is filled 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 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 as we speak. Six players 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 crew, too, with a enjoyable name and a hilarious participant photograph—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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