The first five men elected were Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson, chosen in 1936; roughly 20 more were selected before the entire group was inducted at the Hall's 1939 opening. There are now over 300 people elected to the Hall of Fame, including players, managers, umpires, and team owners. Players are currently inducted into the Hall of Fame through election by either the Baseball Writers Association of America (or BBWAA), or the Veterans Committee.
The Hall of Fame is divided into three sections; a museum, the Hall of Fame, and a research library. Visitors can tour exhibits in the permanent gallery, as well as rotating exhibitions related to various themes. The Hall also offers educational lectures and other programs to enhance awareness, understanding and appreciation of the game for a diverse audience.