Players are selected by members of the BBWAA who have been active for 10 years and by a few honorary members of the BBWAA. Approximately 450 writers participate each year. To be eligible for selection, the prospective player must have been active in the major leagues at some time during a period beginning 20 years before and ending 5 years prior to election. (When, however, Roberto Clemente was killed in an airplane crash in late 1972, the 5-year waiting period was waived so that he could be immediately inducted in 1973. Later in 1973 the election rules were changed to permit selection of a player six months after his death.) Further rules stipulate that a player must have played at least 10 years in the major leagues and is required to receive 75 percent of the votes to be elected. There is no set number of players elected each year. No write-in votes are permitted, and the ballot is formed of those players who received a vote on a minimum of 5 percent of the ballots cast in the preceding election or those who are eligible for the first time and are nominated by any two of the six members of the BBWAA Screening Committee.
During summer months, a limited amount of all-day and hourly parking is available, provided by the village of Cooperstown, for a fee in Doubleday Field Parking Lot. This centrally-located parking lot is accessible from Chestnut Street (south of the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce) or from Main Street (next to the Key Bank Building). This lot is a paid lot daily from 9 . to 6 ., Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day. Parking in this lot costs $ per hour with a maximum fee of $ per day. Tickets can be purchased at either entrance as early as 7 .. Tickets purchased before 9 . are time stamped to begin at 9 .
Between 1971 and 1977, nine players from the Negro Leagues were inducted by a special Negro Leagues Committee, which was given the task of identifying worthy players who played in the Negro Leagues prior to the breaking of baseball's color line . Since 1977, players from the Negro Leagues have been considered by the Veterans Committee, and nine more individuals have been approved by that body.  In 2005, the Hall announced the formation of a Committee on African-American Baseball, which held a 2006 election for eligible figures from the Negro Leagues and earlier 19th-century teams;  17 additional Negro League figures were chosen in that election, including executive Effa Manley , the first woman inducted.