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There have been calls for the voting to be taken away from the writers and be given to a more diverse electorate that would include players and broadcasters. The Hall says it is content with the process, which began in 1936.

“It takes time for history to sort itself out, and I’m not surprised we had a shutout today,” Hall President Jeff Idelson said. “I wish we had an electee. I will say that, but I’m not surprised given how volatile this era has been in terms of assessing the qualities and the quantities of the statistics and the impact on the game these players have had.”

Bonds, baseball’s only seven-time Most Valuable Player, hit 762 home runs, including a record 73 in 2001. He was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs but a jury two years ago failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer.

“It is unimaginable that the best player to ever play the game would not be a unanimous first-ballot selection,” said Jeff Borris of the Beverly Hills Sports Council, Bonds‘ longtime agent.

Clemens, the only seven-time Cy Young Award winner, is third in career strikeouts (4,672) and ninth in wins (354). He was acquitted last year on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use.

“To those who did take the time to look at the facts,” Clemens said, “we very much appreciate it.”

Sosa, eighth with 609 home runs, was among those who tested positive in MLB’s 2003 anonymous survey, The New York Times reported in 2009. He told a congressional committee in 2005 that he never took illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

Since 1961, the only years the writers didn’t elect a candidate had been when Yogi Berra topped the 1971 vote by appearing on 67 percent of the ballots cast and when Phil Niekro headed the 1996 ballot at 68 percent _ both got in the following years. The other BBWAA elections without a winner were in 1945, 1946, 1950, 1958 and 1960.

Morris will make his final ballot appearance next year, when fellow pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine are eligible for the first time along with slugger Frank Thomas.

“Next year, I think you’ll have a rather large class, and this year, for whatever reasons, you had a couple of guys come really close,” Commissioner Bud Selig said at the owners’ meetings in Paradise Valley, Ariz. “This is not to be voted to make sure that somebody gets in every year. It’s to be voted on to make sure that they’re deserving. I respect the writers as well as the Hall itself. This idea that this somehow diminishes the Hall or baseball is just ridiculous in my opinion.”

Players’ union head Michael Weiner called the vote “unfortunate, if not sad.”

“To ignore the historic accomplishments of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, for example, is hard to justify. Moreover, to penalize players exonerated in legal proceedings _ and others never even implicated _ is simply unfair. The Hall of Fame is supposed to be for the best players to have ever played the game. Several such players were denied access to the Hall today. Hopefully this will be rectified by future voting.”

The BBWAA election rules say “voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”

An Associated Press survey of 112 eligible voters conducted in late November after the ballot was announced indicated Bonds, Clemens and Sosa would fall well short of 50 percent. The big three drew even less support than that as the debate raged over who was Hall worthy.

Voters are writers who have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years at any point.

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