A candidate must receive 75 percent of the vote from the voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in order to be inducted.
In totals announced Wednesday by the Hall and the BBWAA, Bonds, baseball’s only seven-time Most Valuable Player, received 36.2 percent of the vote. Clemens, the only seven-time Cy Young Award winner got 37.6 percent; Sammy Sosa received just 12.5 percent. They were appearing on the ballot for the first time and have up to 14 more years to make it to Cooperstown.
Craig Biggio, 20th on the career list with 3,060 hits, topped the 37 candidates with 68.2 percent of the 569 ballots, 39 shy of the 75 percent needed.
The voters also shunned first-time candidates Mike Piazza (57.8 percent) and Curt Schilling (38.8 percent).
Jack Morris led holdovers with 67.7 percent. He will make his final ballot appearance next year, when Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine are eligible for the first time.
Several holdovers from last year remained on the 37-player ballot, including Jeff Bagwell (59.6 percent), Lee Smith (47.8 percent) and Tim Raines (52.2 percent).
About 600 people are eligible to vote in the BBWAA election, all members of the organization for 10 consecutive years at any point.
The last time the BBWAA failed to elect a player was 1996, when the Veterans Committee elected Jim Bunning, Earl Weaver and two posthumous honorees, Bill Foster and Ned Hanlon.
This year, the Veteran's Committee voted in three pre-integration era inductees — umpire Hank O’Day, former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert and 19th-century catcher/third baseman Deacon White. All have been dead since at least 1939.
More than 40 living Hall of Famers are expected to attend the induction ceremony on July 28, but the attendance at Cooperstown, NY, could fall below 10,000, the approximate number who attended the 1996 ceremony. It certainly won’t approach the record 75,000 who saw Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. inducted in 2007.