Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens, and Barry Bonds are among the newcomers to the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.
Outfielder Sammy Sosa, the NL MVP in 1998, and two former Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award winners, catchers Sandy Alomar Jr. (1990) and Mike Piazza (1993), are on the ballot for the first time. Joining them are pitchers Curt Schilling, the 2001 World Series co-MVP, and David Wells, whose perfect game in 1998 was a highlight of the Yankees’ 114-victory season; outfielders Kenny Lofton, who competed in 20 postseason series, and Shawn Green, the record holder for most total bases in a game (19), and infielder Julio Franco, the ageless former batting champion who was the oldest player (48) to hit a home run in the majors. Other newcomers are starting pitchers Aaron Sele and Woody Williams; relievers Roberto Hernandez, Jose Mesa and Mike Stanton; infielders Jeff Cirillo, Royce Clayton and Todd Walker; outfielders Steve Finley, Reggie Sanders and Rondell White and outfielders-first baseman Jeff Conine and Ryan Klesko.
Players may remain on the ballot for up to 15 years provided they receive five percent of the vote in the previous year. The only first-year candidate in 2012 who received sufficient support to remain was outfielder Bernie Williams with 55 votes (9.6).
Clemens, who compiled a 354-184 record with a 3.12 earned run average and 4,672 strikeouts over a 24-season career, was the recipient of eight Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) awards, the most by any individual player. He was the American League Most Valuable Player with the Boston Red Sox in 1986 and won the Cy Young Award a record seven times – in the AL with the Red Sox in 1986, ’87 and ’91; with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1997 and ’98; with the New York Yankees in 2001 and in the National League with the Houston Astros in 2004.
Bonds, baseball’s single-season home run record holder with 73 in 2001 and all-time home run leader with 762 over a 22-season career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants, was the MVP of the NL seven times, more than twice as often as any player in history, including a record string of four victories from 2001-04 with the Giants. Bonds also won with the Giants in 1993 and with the Pirates in 1990 and ’92. He finished second in the voting in 1991 with the Pirates and 2000 with the Giants.
Among those returning to the ballot are first basemen Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro; outfielders Dale Murphy, Tim Raines and Larry Walker; shortstop Alan Trammell and third baseman-designated hitter Edgar Martinez.
Writers with 10 or more consecutive years’ experience make up the electorate, which must return ballots by a Dec. 31 postmark. Votes are counted jointly by BBWAA secretary-treasurer Jack O’Connell and Ernst & Young partner Michael DiLecce. Results will be announced Wednesday, January 9, 2013, on the MLB Network and the web sites of the Hall of Fame and the BBWAA.
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