Bonds has denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs and was convicted of one count of obstruction of justice for giving an evasive answer in 2003 to a grand jury investigating PEDs. Clemens was acquitted of perjury charges stemming from congressional testimony during which he denied using PEDs.
Sosa, who finished 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.
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.
BBWAA president Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle said she didn’t vote for Bonds, Clemens or Sosa.
‘‘The evidence for steroid use is too strong,’’ she said.
As for Biggio, ‘‘I'm surprised he didn’t get in.’’
MLB.com’s Hal Bodley, the former baseball columnist for USA Today, said Biggio and others paid the price for other players using PEDs.
‘‘They got caught in the undertow of the steroids thing,’’ he said.
Bodley said this BBWAA vote was a ‘‘loud and clear’’ message on the steroids issue. He said he couldn’t envision himself voting for stars linked to drugs.
‘‘We've a forgiving society, I know that,’’ he said. ‘‘But I have too great a passion for the sport.’’
Mark McGwire, 10th on the career home run list, received 16.9 percent on his seventh try, down from 19.5 last year. He received 23.7 percent in 2010 — a vote before he admitted using steroids and human growth hormone.
Rafael Palmeiro, among just four players with 500 homers and 3,000 hits along with Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray, received 8.8 percent in his third try, down from 12.6 percent last year. Palmeiro received a 10-day suspension in 2005 for a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs, claiming it was due to a vitamin vial given to him by teammate Miguel Tejada.
While there are exhibits about the Steroids Era at the Hall, the plaque room will remain without Bonds and Clemens, who join career hits leader Pete Rose on the outside looking in. There were four write-in votes for Rose, who never appeared on the ballot because of his lifetime ban that followed an investigation of his gambling while manager of the Cincinnati Reds.
Morris increased slightly from his 66.7 percent last year, when Barry Larkin was elected. Morris could become the player with the highest-percentage of the vote who is not in the Hall, a mark currently held by Gil Hodges at 63 percent in 1983.
Several players who fell just short in the BBWAA balloting later were elected by either the Veterans Committee or Old-Timers’ Committee: Nellie Fox (74.7 percent on the 1985 BBWAA ballot), Jim Bunning (74.2 percent in 1988), Orlando Cepeda (73.6 percent in 1994) and Frank Chance (72.5 percent in 1945).
The ace of three World Series winners, Morris had 254 victories and was the winningest pitcher of the 1980s. His 3.90 ERA, however, is higher than that of any Hall of Famer.
AP Sports Writers Mike Fitzpatrick, John Marshall and Ben Walker contributed to this report.