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Hall of Fame ballot includes Bonds, Clemens and Sosa

Associated Press

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. 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 in home runs 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.”

More than 600 longtime members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will vote on the 37-player ballot. Candidates require 75 percent for induction, and the results will be announced Jan. 9.

Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Curt Schilling also are among the 24 first-time eligibles. Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines are the top holdover candidates.

Clearing the bases

The New York Yankees signed LHP Andy Pettitte to a one-year deal worth $12 million, putting baseball’s biggest postseason winner back in pinstripes. … The Reds have signed RHP Jonathan Broxton to a three-year, $21 million contract, giving the N.L. Central champions a potential closer. … The Athletics and RHP Pat Neshek and have reached agreement on a one-year contract, avoiding salary arbitration. He went 2-1 with a 1.37 ERA with the A’s after being acquired from Baltimore on Aug. 3. … The Red Sox have traded RHPs Zach Stewart and Sandy Rosario and 3B Danny Valencia. They dealt Stewart to the Pirates and Rosario to the Athletics for players to be named and sent Valencia to the Baltimore Orioles for cash considerations. … The Royals traded RHP Vin Mazzaro and 1B Clint Robinson to the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league Ps Luis Santos and Luis Rico. … The Rangers acquired RHP Cory Burns from San Diego in exchange for a player to be named later. … The Red Sox have hired Greg Colbrunn as their hitting coach.

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