when does high school baseball start Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Verify. A participant who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In today without MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most full database to search out things that remind them of what makes the sport so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth marvel of the world, and albeit, it’s superior to among the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you have got the player 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 historical past. Much of that joy is tied in with shopping Baseball-Reference pages, which expose weird stats and enjoyable names and implausible accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, however in a time absent of precise video games—Opening Day was initially slated for Thursday—it turns into counterintuitively much more central for fans: Solely 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 information available than anybody has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, staff, and season; for leagues ranging in skill stage across 4 continents; for each attainable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to reply. So to rejoice the breadth of the positioning’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anywhere on the site. As befits this eighth marvel, we acquired weird—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just waiting for the first actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One of the most distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” Whenever a player leads his league in a statistical category, the number on his web 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 web page, with sure categories weighted to emphasise their significance, and publishes the participant’s rating at the bottom of his web page as a quick and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

When most statheads discuss players with quite a lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the current previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my personal favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was an actual asshole, God rest his soul, however he may absolutely rake. If you understand something about Hornsby, other than his winning character, it’s that his career batting average, .358, is the best ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb overall. 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 yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash categories 3 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 just need a stats site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst group in MLB history. They are also my favorite team in MLB history. (I like 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 shows why.

The backstory right here is that before the season, the Spiders’ owners additionally bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good players—including Cy Young and two different future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to kind a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly apparent on the page. One of many only indications of one thing strange comes at the top of the web page, when B-Ref provides an option to see the Spiders’ previous season but not their next. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of one thing unusual is the info itself; B-Ref is, in the beginning, a treasure trove of knowledge. For example, each team web page features a quick visible representation of the game-by-game outcomes. Inexperienced 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 red.

Each web page is full of storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but finished the season with a 4-30 record, and that the pitching employees as a complete completed 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 nearly as exact as it's at the moment. Six gamers have a “?” next to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure of their handedness on 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 team, too, with a enjoyable identify and a hilarious player picture—one other delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—to boot.

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