whitey ford baseball card Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Check. A participant who might have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double check. In as of late without MLB, our staff writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to find things that remind them of what makes the sport so nice.

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 may have the participant page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime dwelling run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s nook 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 bizarre stats and fun names and improbable accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, but in a time absent of precise video games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it becomes 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 present pages.

The site has extra data available than anyone has time to learn, social distancing or not. There are pages for each participant, staff, and season; for leagues ranging in ability degree across four continents; for each potential statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to have fun the breadth of the site’s riches, we held a miniature draft, selecting our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, chosen from anywhere on the location. As befits this eighth wonder, we obtained weird—and in so doing, found room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just waiting for the primary actual pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

One 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 page is displayed in daring. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s both bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s page, with sure categories weighted to emphasize their significance, and publishes the player’s rating at the bottom of his web page as a fast and dirty estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads speak about gamers with loads of black ink, they go to favorites from the recent past, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. However my personal favourite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God rest his soul, however he might absolutely rake. If you know anything about Hornsby, apart from his successful persona, it’s that his profession batting common, .358, is the best ever for a right-handed hitter and second only to Ty Cobb overall. That undersells his offensive prowess considerably.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting common, OBP, and slugging share (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single year. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes 3 times mixed, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As a lot as I love the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, typically you just want a stats web site to play the hits. Literally, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst team in MLB history. They're also my favourite team in MLB history. (I like them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend purchased me a classic Spiders T-shirt as a birthday current.) 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 Younger and two other future Hall of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to type a superteam. But that context isn’t instantly apparent on the web page. One of many solely indications of something strange comes on the prime of the web page, when B-Ref gives an option to see the Spiders’ previous season however not their subsequent. That’s as a result of the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of one thing unusual is the information itself; B-Ref is, before everything, a treasure trove of information. As an illustration, each workforce web page features a quick visual illustration of the game-by-game results. Green means a win, red 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 crimson.

Every page is filled with storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace but completed the season with a 4-30 file, and that the pitching employees as an entire finished 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 almost as exact as it is at this time. Six players have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are not sure of their handedness on the plate. And they spotlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with gamers like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this workforce, too, with a enjoyable title and a hilarious participant photograph—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—besides.

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