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Bonds, Clemens, Sosa on Hall of Fame ballot for first time

  • FILE - In this Aug. 24, 2007, file photo, San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds, right, hits his 761st career home run, a solo effort, off Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Chris Capuano in the fourth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco. Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa are set to show up on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, and fans will soon find out whether drug allegations block the former stars from reaching baseball's shrine. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

NEW YORK — The most polarizing Hall of Fame debate since Pete Rose will now be decided by the baseball shrine's voters: Do Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa belong in Cooperstown despite drug allegations that tainted their huge numbers?

In a monthlong election sure to become a referendum on the Steroids Era, the Hall ballot was released Wednesday, and Bonds, Clemens and Sosa are on it for the first time.

Bonds is the all-time home run champion with 762 and won a record seven MVP awards. Clemens took home a record seven Cy Young trophies and is ninth with 354 victories. Sosa ranks eighth on the homer chart with 609.

Yet for all their HRs, RBIs and Ws, the shadow of PEDs looms large.

"You could see for years that this particular ballot was going to be controversial and divisive to an unprecedented extent," Larry Stone of The Seattle Times wrote in an email. "My hope is that some clarity begins to emerge over the Hall of Fame status of those linked to performance-enhancing drugs. But I doubt it."


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