The Baseball Winter Meetings are an annual event, held each December, attended by representatives from all 30 minor league baseball teams, various league offices, companies associated with baseball and guests from international baseball-playing countries for four days during the offseason. This is a time when many offseason trades and transactions are completed. The Rule 5 draft, where players who are not on a team's 40-man roster can be drafted by another team, is held on the shortened last day of the meetings. It is generally considered the culmination of baseball's "hot stove league."
The tradition of baseball holding offseason meetings during December dates back as far as 1876, the first offseason of the National League. At the 1876 meetings, William Hulbert was selected to be the league's president, and two teams (the New York Mutuals and Philadelphia Athletics) were expelled from the league for failing to complete their 1876 schedule.
Since 1951, the "King of Baseball" title has been awarded at the Banquet at the Baseball Winter Meetings. League meetings, the Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities Job Fair and The Baseball Trade Show are some of the other highlights of the event. In addition, several events associated with the Hall of Fame take place at the Winter Meetings:
- The voting bodies that superseded the Veterans Committee, which are now the only bodies that elect long-retired players and non-playing personnel, meet and vote.
- The committee for the Hall's Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting also meets to select the recipient.
- The Baseball Writers' Association of America announces the recipient of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award for excellence in baseball writing. Both the Frick and Spink Awards are presented as part of the Hall's annual induction festivities.
In 2014, the 113th annual Baseball Winter Meetings will be held from December 7 to the 11th in San Diego, California at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. In 2012, the Winter Meetings were held in Nashville, Tennessee from December 3 – 6. The 2013 Winter Meetings were at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, beginning on December 9 and ending on December 12.
- Baseball Winter Meetings
- Winter Meetings
- PBEO Job Fair
- The Baseball Trade Show