Located in Cooperstown, New York, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum houses a number of exhibits, memorabilia, and relevant historical data that pertains to the history of baseball in the United States and the world. It is a research facility, tourist attraction, and hall of fame, in which players who excelled at the game are honored for their contributions to the game, either on the field or off.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame is sometimes called the Baseball Hall of Fame, or just the Hall of Fame for short. In most circles, the Baseball Hall of Fame is known simply as Cooperstown. The village itself has embraced its notoriety as the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the downtown area has many themed restaurants and bars focusing on Baseball and the Hall of Fame. While other museums exist in the town, the Baseball Hall of Fame is the most well-known and therefore pulls in the most tourist traffic.
The building that houses the Baseball Hall of Fame contains several floors of memorabilia and historical artifacts in addition to the Hall of Fame and other exhibits. Such exhibits include multimedia presentations such as films, art galleries, exhibits specifically geared toward children, and even a records room that honors record holders and unique feats within the game. A few exhibits chronicle modern-day feats of players who are still active within the game, though they are not inductees into the hall. Other important exhibits include the history of Negro League baseball and the breaking of the color barrier, and women in baseball.
The first class of inductees into the Hall of Fame were Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, and Honus Wagner. They were inducted in 1936. Since then, the Hall has been home to players as well as managers and broadcasters who excelled in the sport. The broadcasters and writers are not official members of the hall itself, but they are instead honored in a separate part of the building.
Players and managers are elected into the hall by a veterans committee that consists of current Hall of Famers and other select individuals. A player is eligible to be elected into the Hall of Fame five years after official retirement. They must have played for at least ten seasons in the major leagues, and they must gain nomination on at least 75% of ballots cast for that year.