In 2001, the Veterans Committee was reformed to comprise the living Hall of Fame members and other honorees.  The revamped Committee held three election, in 2003 and 2007 , for both players and non-players, and in 2005 for players only. No individual was elected in that time, sparking criticism among some observers who expressed doubt whether the new Veterans Committee would ever elect a player. The Committee members, most of whom were Hall members, were accused of being reluctant to elect new candidates in the hope of heightening the value of their own selection. After no one was selected for the third consecutive election in 2007, Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt noted, "The same thing happens every year. The current members want to preserve the prestige as much as possible, and are unwilling to open the doors."  In 2007, the committee and its selection processes were again reorganized; the main committee then included all living members of the Hall, and voted on a reduced number of candidates from among players whose careers began in 1943 or later. Separate committees, including sportswriters and broadcasters, would select umpires, managers and executives, as well as players from earlier eras.
The Hall of Fame was dedicated on June 12, 1939. Stephen Carlton Clark was owner of a local hotel and sought to bring tourists to Cooperstown, which had been suffering economically when the Great Depression significantly reduced the local tourist trade and Prohibition devastated the local hops industry. His granddaughter, Jane Forbes Clark, is the current Chairman of the Board of Directors. The erroneous claim that . Civil War hero Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown, a claim made by former National League president Abraham G. Mills and his 1905 Mills Commission, was instrumental in the early marketing of the Hall.