Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Matthewson and Walter Johnson – couldn’t argue with those choices among baseball’s all-time greats.  They were the first five members of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. 

Plans to build a museum devoted to baseball and its history began in 1935 when city leaders in Cooperstown decided that a Hall of Fame would help their efforts to dig out from the effects of the Depression and attract tourists.  They put out the story that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown – a story that turned out to be phony.  But baseball officials gave their support anyway because they thought a Hall of Fame would be good for the game and a great way to market it.

Today the Hall of Fame attracts 350,000 visitors a year.

Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven will be inducted this year increasing the number of members to 295, including 234 players, 20 managers, 9 umpires and 32 executives and pioneers.  The first five were inducted on January 29th, 1939.

SOURCE: Baseball Almanac