Baseball Hall of Fame
Cooperstown, New York, is home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. This privately managed semi-official museum is a must-see for baseball fans and historians alike. Set up in June 1939, the Hall of Fame house artifacts and exhibits besides honoring those who have left their mark on the game in one way or another. To fans, the term ‘Hall of Fame’ is more synonymous with the latter than the former. Set up by the Clark Foundation, the motive was to draw tourists into a town that had been severely affected by the Depression.
Soon, the major leagues fell in with the idea and started providing the exhibits for display. Besides baseball memorabilia, the Hall of Fame houses an art collection and a research library with state of the art technology. The first five to be honored were Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson. Today there are more than 250 persons enshrined here and this includes players, umpires, managers and organizers.
The current selection process requires the candidate to meet certain requirements and election is conducted by either the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) or the Veterans Committee. As the name suggests the latter consists of living members of the Hall of Fame and recipients of the Ford C Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting and J G Taylor Spink Award for excellence in baseball writing.
Players are usually considered only five years after retirement and with at least 10 years major league experience. There can be anywhere between 25-40 candidates up for selection at one time. If a player fails to be elected by the BBWAA within 20 years of his retirement, the Veterans Committee may induct him .But in some special cases, certain players are deemed fit for induction though they may not meet all the criteria. Despite all this, each time an induction is held, controversy dogs the judgment.