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“People are going to think what they want to think. If they don’t think that anybody was good in this era, then that’s fine. Like I said, I’m one of the first ones to come up in that era. I’m OK with it,” he said. “There’s nothing I can do about it.”

Palmeiro was listed on just 64 of a record 581 ballots (11 percent) in his first try despite lofty career numbers _ he is joined by Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray as the lone players with more than 3,000 hits and 500 home runs.

But Palmeiro failed a drug test and was suspended by Major League Baseball in 2005. The penalty came a few months after he wagged his finger at members of Congress and told them: “I have never used steroids. Period.”

Former Rep. Tom Davis was the chairman of the House committee that held the March 17, 2005, hearing on steroids in baseball at which Palmeiro made that statement and McGwire refused to “talk about the past.”

“The baseball writers are weighing the steroid thing. It’s still got to play out, but at this point they seem to have factored that it into their decisions,” Davis said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

The other leader of that committee, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., declined to comment through a spokesperson.

“Henry and I did our job. We tried to clean the game up a little bit and tried to help young people who were starting to use that stuff,” Davis said. “The rest of it will be up to history.”

Palmeiro recently reiterated the anabolic steroid that caused his positive test came in a vitamin vial given to him by teammate Miguel Tejada.

McGwire got 19.8 percent, a drop from 23.7 percent last year. This was his fifth time on the ballot, and first since the former home run champion admitted he took steroids and human growth hormone.

Juan Gonzalez, a two-time AL MVP implicated by Jose Canseco in steroids use, received 30 votes, just above the 5 percent threshold for remaining on the ballot next year.

Alomar and Blyleven will be joined by Pat Gillick at the induction ceremonies July 24 in Cooperstown. The longtime executive was picked last month by the Veterans Committee. Gillick helped earn his place with a trade that brought Alomar to Toronto.

Smart, graceful and acrobatic on the field, Alomar also was guilty in one of the game’s most boorish moments. He spit on umpire John Hirschbeck during a dispute in 1996 and was suspended. They later made up and Hirschbeck supported Alomar’s bid for the Hall.

“I regret every bit of it. I apologized many times to John,” he said. “I feel good I’ve had a good relationship with John.”

Said Hirschbeck: “I’m very, very happy for him. It’s overdue.”

“I’m not going to comment on why he didn’t get elected the first time. But I forgave him. Maybe the rest of the world has,” Hirschbeck told The Associated Press by telephone.

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