The Generations of Baseball

"Baseball is continuous, like nothing else among American things, an endless game of repeated summers, joining the long generations of all the fathers and all the sons."
--Donald Hall
The table below lists the ten baseball generations along with their total MLB population and best (or best-known) player. Some generations have an alternate name in parentheses, as I'm still in the process of assigning definitive names to them (and am open to suggestions).

Knickerbocker1812-18342Alexander Cartwright
National (Professional)1835-1856469Cap Anson
American (Rowdy)1857-18731,467Cy Young
Dead-Ball1874-18922,351Ty Cobb
Live-Ball1893-19112,276Babe Ruth
G.I. (Integration)1912-19281,945Ted Williams
Silent (Expansion)1929-19441,678Willie Mays
Boom (Free Agency)1945-19612,467Rickey Henderson
Generation X (Steroid)1962-19803,600Barry Bonds
Millennial1981-19962,527Mike Trout

To identify the generations of baseball, I started with the Strauss & Howe generations. I used eight attribute rates to define the "peer personality" of a generation, and used similarity scores based on those attribute rates to compare cohorts (all the players born in a single year) to generations. I went through a process of moving cohorts into their most statistically-alike generation (which in turn calcified the statistical image of the generation) until I arrived at "cohesive cohort-groups."

I explained my method in much greater detail in a three-part series of posts, if you're curious:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated!

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