Friday, December 30, 2016

Hall of Fame Players by Generation

The below table shows the eight (semi-)retired MLB-playing generations. For each generation, I have listed the number of members with 10-year MLB careers (who ended their careers by 2010), the number enshrined in the Hall of Fame as players, and the percentage of eligible players enshrined. (Addie Joss is the only Hall-of-Fame player with less than 10 years.)

GenerationBirthyears10 yearsHOFHOF%First Members Inducted
National1835-18565459.3%Cap Anson & Old Hoss Radbourn (1939)
American1857-18731822714.8%Cy Young (1937)
Dead-Ball1874-18922643513.3%Cobb, Johnson, Mathewson & Wagner (1936)
Live-Ball1893-19113405014.7%Babe Ruth (1936)
G.I.1912-1928308299.4%Joe DiMaggio (1955)
Silent1929-1944434317.1%Sandy Koufax (1972)
Boom1945-1961686294.2%Catfish Hunter (1987)
Generation X1962-1980621111.8%Roberto Alomar (2011)
TOTAL2,8892177.5%

As you can see, the Hall of Fame is suffering from a severe anti-recency bias. Over 14% of players born from 1857 to 1911 are enshrined, but the percentage then plummets with each successive generation, down to less than 2% of eligible Gen-Xers (players born from 1962 to 1980).

Overall, 7.5% of eligible players are enshrined in the Hall of Fame. (This table considers banned players eligible). To get up to that 7.5%, the Silent Generation would need two more players to get inducted (how about Pete Rose and Dick Allen?), the Boom Generation would need 23 more players, and Gen X would need 36 more currently-eligible players. (But of course, the number of Gen-Xers eligible for enshrinement is increasing every year as well.)

Gen X was also relatively late breaking into the Hall. Starting with Babe Ruth's generation, the age of each generation's firstborn cohort when its first player was enshrined was 43, 43, 43, 42, and 49. (For instance, firstborn Gen-Xers like Darren Daulton and Kevin Mitchell were 49 years old when Robbie Alomar became the first of their peers to be inducted into the Hall.)

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