whats a balk in baseball Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A player who may have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double examine. In today with out MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to seek out things that remind them of what makes the game so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder 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 have the participant page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s nook of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. A lot of that pleasure is tied in with browsing Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and enjoyable names and fantastic accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round deal with, but in a time absent of precise video games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively even 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 location has extra info out there than anybody has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, workforce, and season; for leagues ranging in ability level throughout four continents; for every potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to celebrate the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our 5 favorite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from wherever on the location. As befits this eighth wonder, we acquired weird—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds simply waiting for the primary actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Every time a participant leads his league in a statistical class, the number on his web page is displayed in bold. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a participant’s page, with sure classes weighted to emphasise their significance, and publishes the player’s score on the bottom of his page as a fast and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads talk about gamers with loads 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, but he might completely rake. If you know something about Hornsby, other than his profitable character, it’s that his profession batting average, .358, is the very best 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 share (and by extension OPS and OPS+) each single 12 months. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes three times mixed, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I really like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, typically you simply need a stats website to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst group in MLB historical past. They are additionally my favorite crew in MLB historical past. (I am keen on 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 earlier than the season, the Spiders’ homeowners also bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—together with Cy Young and two different future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to try to form a superteam. But that context isn’t immediately obvious on the web page. One of the only indications of one thing unusual comes at the prime of the page, when B-Ref provides an choice to see the Spiders’ previous season but not their next. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of one thing strange is the information itself; B-Ref is, before everything, a treasure trove of data. As an illustration, every team web page includes a fast visible representation of the game-by-game results. Green means a win, purple means a loss, and the height of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Right here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 green bars and 134 purple.

Each web page is filled with storytelling statistics. So it’s easy to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but completed the season with a 4-30 file, and that the pitching workers as an entire completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t characteristic 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 “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure 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 staff, too, with a enjoyable name and a hilarious participant photograph—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—besides.