Baseball's all-time home run king and the most decorated pitcher likely will be shut out of the Hall of Fame in January. A survey by The Associated Press shows that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, as well as slugger Sammy Sosa, don't have enough votes to get into Cooperstown.
With steroid scandals still on the minds of longtime members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America as they cast their ballots, the trio failed to muster even 50 percent support among the 112 voters contacted by the AP — nearly one-fifth of those eligible to choose.
Candidates need 75 percent for election
So Bonds, the only seven-time MVP, and Clemens, the only seven-time Cy Young Award winner, are likely to remain outside the Hall.
The current ballot was announced this week and Bonds, Clemens and Sosa were on it for the first time. Votes will be cast throughout the month and results will be released Jan. 9.
Among voters who expressed an opinion, Bonds received 45 percent support, Clemens 43 percent and Sosa 18 percent. To gain election, Bonds and Clemens would need more than 80 percent support among the voters not surveyed and Sosa would need to get more than 85 percent.
"No one would dare say that Bonds, a seven-time National League MVP with 762 home runs, isn't a Hall of Famer," Thom Loverro, a columnist for The Washington Examiner, wrote in a column that explained his decision. "Nor would anyone say that Clemens, with 354 career victories, 4,672 strikeouts and seven Cy Young Awards, shouldn't be enshrined in Cooperstown. The same goes for Sosa, who finished with 609 career home runs, including 243 of them from 1998 through 2001.
"Except they cheated — all of them. And this Hall of Fame is not just about numbers. Three of the six criteria for election to Cooperstown are sportsmanship, integrity and character. Bonds, Sosa and Clemens fail on all three counts."
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Bruce Jenkins took the opposite view.
"The Hall of Fame's 'character' clause should be stricken immediately, because it's far too late to turn Cooperstown into a church," he wrote in an email. "Whether it was gambling (rampant in the early 20th century), scuffing the baseballs, corking bats, amphetamines or steroids, players have been cheating like crazy forever. It's an integral, if unsavory, part of the culture. I've always had the same criteria: which players were the best performers of their particular era — so absolutely, I'll vote for Bonds, Clemens and Sosa."
Ballots must be submitted to the BBWAA by Dec. 31. Inductions will take place July 28.
Voters were contacted by telephone and email from Wednesday to Friday.
Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Curt Schilling also are among the 24 first-time eligibles, and Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines are the top holdover candidates.
ASTROS: Houston claimed Philip Humber off waivers from the White Sox and agreed to a one-year contract with the pitcher who threw a perfect game last season.
The 29-year-old Humber pitched a perfect game in a 4-0 win over the Seattle Mariners last April 21. It was the highlight of a 5-5 season in which the right-hander made 26 appearances, 16 of them starts.
METS: Third baseman David Wright and New York agreed to a $138 million, eight-year contract.
The deal replaces Wright's $16 million salary for next season and includes $122 million in new money.
Wright is the club's career leader in several major offensive categories including hits, RBIs, runs and walks. Wright, who turns 30 on Dec. 20, would have been eligible for free agency after next season.
In other Mets news, the team declined to offer contracts to outfielder Andres Torres, right-hander Mike Pelfrey and right-handed reliever Manny Acosta. The three players will become free agents on Saturday.
ORIOLES: Baltimore declined to offer a 2013 contract to slugger Mark Reynolds, a decision that allows the infielder to become a free agent.
Reynolds hit .221 with 23 homers and 69 RBIs last season. His home run output was down from 37 in 2011 and his fewest since his rookie year in 2007.
BRAVES-ANGELS TRADE: The Braves traded Tommy Hanson to the Los Angeles Angels for former closer Jordan Walden.
The 26-year-old Hanson set a career high with 13 wins this year, but his 4.48 ERA also was a career worst. The right-hander was 45-32 in four seasons with the Braves.
Walden had 32 saves in 2011, then lost his closer's role to Ernesto Frieri and was 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA and one save this year.
PARK RETIRES: Former major leaguer Chan Ho Park is retiring after a career spanning nearly two decades in the United States, Japan and South Korea.
Park, 39, was the first South Korean-born player in the Major League Baseball and played for Japan's Orix Buffaloes and South Korea's Hanwha Eagles in the past two years.