NEW YORK — Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa are listed on the baseball Hall of Fame ballot for the first time, setting up an election sure to become a referendum on the Steroids Era.
The 37-player ballot was announced Wednesday.
More than 600 longtime members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America will vote through next month. Candidates need 75 percent for induction, and the results will be announced Jan. 9.
Bonds is the all-time home run champion with 762 and won a record seven MVP awards. Clemens set a record with seven Cy Young trophies and Sosa hit 609 homers. The voters will now decide whether drug allegations that tainted their huge numbers should keep them out of Cooperstown.
Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Curt Schilling are among the 24 first-time eligibles. Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines are the top holdover candidates.
The upcoming election is certain to fuel the most polarizing Hall discussion since career hits leader Pete Rose's betting troubles put him on baseball's permanently ineligible list, barring him from the BBWAA ballot.
While many continued to debate whether Rose should be enshrined, it was moot because there is currently no way he can be considered.
On deck, though, are some of the game's biggest names — along with a lot of the sport's biggest baggage.
Bonds, Clemens and Sosa each posted monster statistics, though their accomplishments were shadowed by accusations they used performance-enhancing drugs. And as baseball keeps trying to rid itself of PEDs, their impact on HRs, RBIs and Ws remains a prickly problem.
Bonds was baseball's premier slugger on his generation and Clemens ranks ninth in career wins with 354. Sosa is eighth on the home run chart with 609.
Fans, players and Hall of Fame members have all chimed in about whether stars who supposedly juiced up should make it to Cooperstown.