Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa are just a few of the big names appearing for the first time on the Baseball Writers' Association of America Hall of Fame ballot, it was announced Wednesday. And it's likely none of them -- despite all-time great numbers -- will make it to Cooperstown, at least not the first time around.
Steroid allegations surround all three of the players, which will likely lead to them being excluded from first-ballot Hall of Fame distinction, if not complete exclusion.
Bonds is the all-time leader in home runs with 762, including the single-season record of 73 set in 2001. He was a seven-time MVP, 14-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove winner, but his indictment on perjury charges surrounding the BALCO investigation have tainted his numbers.
Clemens' Hall of Fame resume is as strong as any candidate's in years on paper, but steroid allegations have plagued the seven-time Cy Young Award winner since he pitched his last game in 2007. He was one of many players alleged in the Mitchell Report to have used steroids during his career, allegations he denied in court and that led to his own indictment on perjury charges.
Sosa ranks eighth on the all-time home run list with 609, the most among foreign-born players in MLB history. Drug allegations followed the 1998 National League MVP throughout his career, and there was also an incident with a corked bat in a 2003 game that led to his ejection from the game.
Among other first-time names on the ballot are Curt Schilling (who won a World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and 2007, a title with Arizona in 2001 and won 216 career games), longtime Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio (a member of the 3,000-hit club with 3,060), Kenny Lofton and Mike Piazza (a 12-time All-Star who holds the record for most home runs hit by a catcher with 427).
Mark McGwire, perhaps the first barometer of how much steroid allegations affect a player's Hall candidacy, is on the ballot for the 7th year and isn't expected to draw the necessary 75 percent of the vote this time around.