Cloud of steroids hovers above Baseball Hall of Fame voting

FILE - At left, in a June 23, 2011, file photo, former San Francisco Giants baseball player Barry Bonds leaves federal court in San Francisco. At right, in a July 14, 2011 file photo, former Major League baseball pitcher Roger Clemens leaves federal court in Washington. Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell are likely to be voted into baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, when Trevor Hoffman and Ivan Rodriguez also could gain the honor. Bonds and Clemens, shunned because of allegations of steroids use, appear set for big increases in their voters. (AP Photo/File)
FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2006, file photo, Houston Astros long time first baseman and four-time All-Star Jeff Bagwell announces his retirement from baseball in Houston. Bagwell and Tim Raines are likely to be voted into baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, when Trevor Hoffman and Ivan Rodriguez also could gain the honor.(AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)
FILE - In this April 20, 2003, file photo, Houston Astros' Jeff Bagwell hits a home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the fifth inning of a baseball game in Milwaukee. Bagwell and Tim Raines are likely to be voted into baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, when Trevor Hoffman and Ivan Rodriguez also could gain the honor. (AP Photo/Darren Hauck, File)
FILE - In this March 6, 2006, file photo, Houston Astros' Jeff Bagwell warms up before facing Washington Nationals in the first inning of spring training baseball in Kissimmee, Fla. Bagwell and Tim Raines are likely to be voted into baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, when Trevor Hoffman and Ivan Rodriguez also could gain the honor. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
FILE - In this June 29, 2013, file photo, former Montreal Expos player Tim Raines poses for a photograph prior to the induction ceremony for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Mary's, Ontario. Raines and Jeff Bagwell are likely to be voted into baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, when Trevor Hoffman and Ivan Rodriguez also could gain the honor. (Dave Chidley/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
FILE - In this April 6, 2001, file photo, Montreal Expos' Tim Raines acknowledges applause from fans as he is presented before the Expos home opener in Montreal. Raines and Jeff Bagwell are likely to be voted into baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, when Trevor Hoffman and Ivan Rodriguez also could gain the honor. (AP Photo/Ryan Remiorz, File)
FILE - In this June 19, 2004, file photo, former Montreal Expos baseball player Tim Raines gets emotional when giving a speech to the crowd after the Montreal Expos retired his number 30 during a ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, in Montreal. Raines and Jeff Bagwell are likely to be voted into baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, when Trevor Hoffman and Ivan Rodriguez also could gain the honor. (Francois Roy/The Canadian press via AP, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 18, 2009, file photo, Texas Rangers newly acquired catcher Ivan Rodriguez responds to questions during a press conference after arriving at the Texas Rangers Ballpark in Arlington before a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins. Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell are likely to be voted into baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, when Trevor Hoffman and Ivan Rodriguez also could gain the honor. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 4, 1996, file photo, Texas Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez reacts after tagging out New York Yankees' Tim Raines, right, as he tried to score in the fourth inning of Game 3 of the American League Divisional playoffs, in Arlington, Texas. Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell are likely to be voted into baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, when Trevor Hoffman and Ivan Rodriguez also could gain the honor. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
FILE - In this July 20, 2013, file photo, former Texas Rangers and 14-time All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez speaks after he was inducted into the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame before a baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Rangers, in Arlington, Texas. Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell are likely to be voted into baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, when Trevor Hoffman and Ivan Rodriguez also could gain the honor. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 12, 2011, file photo, former baseball pitcher Trevor Hoffman speaks to journalists after announcing his retirement at Petco Park in San Diego. Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell are likely to be voted into baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, when Trevor Hoffman and Ivan Rodriguez also could gain the honor. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, FIle)
FILE - In this June 6, 2007, file photo, San Diego Padres closer Trevor Hoffman is hoisted by teammates David Wells, right, and Heath Bell after saving his 500th career game in the Padres 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in a baseball game in San Diego. Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell are likely to be voted into baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, when Trevor Hoffman and Ivan Rodriguez also could gain the honor. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi, File)
FILE - In this July 25, 2008, file photo, San Diego Padres closer Trevor Hoffman throws in the ninth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a baseball game at Pittsburgh. Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell are likely to be voted into baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, when Trevor Hoffman and Ivan Rodriguez also could gain the honor. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

NEW YORK — The cloud of steroids hovers above Hall of Fame voting, much as it shrouded baseball in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Tim Raines, in his 10th and final year of eligibility, appears likely to gain election along with Jeff Bagwell when the Baseball Writers' Association of America voting is announced Wednesday night. Ivan Rodriguez, eligible for the first time, and Trevor Hoffman also could make it.

But along with focusing on the electees, many will study the vote totals of tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, received 36.2 percent in his initial appearance, in 2013, and 44.3 percent last year. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, has risen from 37.6 percent in 2013 to 45.2 percent last year.

This year, Bonds was on 63.2 percent of the 234 ballots obtained by Ryan Thibodaux and posted on his Hall of Fame vote-tracker, and Clemens was on 62.4 percent. That is just over half the expected total, so both project likely to fall short of the 75 percent needed.

But they are gaining momentum.

Peter Gammons of the MLB Network who joined the BBWAA in 1972, voted for Bonds and Clemens for the first time. He differentiates between players suspected of steroids use before the start of testing with penalties in 2004 and those suspended for drug violations.

"I judge players by their eras and who they played against," he said Tuesday. "Clemens and Bonds, they were the best pitcher, player of their eras. And while I wrestled with it, I just decided that how do I know who did and who didn't? ... I finally just decided, you know what, they're so great that they should be in the Hall of Fame because it's a museum of baseball history."

Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using performance enhancing drugs but a jury 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. The conviction was overturned appeal in 2015.

Clemens was acquitted 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.

Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz thinks just the passage of time and change in voting pool leads to a difference perspective.

"Writers come and go. New writers are given the opportunity to vote that may not have covered an era 20 years ago," he said. "When it is strictly circumstance and evidence that you do not know or don't have firsthand and you're just following the rumor-ville, then that's a difficult proposition to put in a writer, to be judge and jury."

___

AP Sports Writer Kristie Rieken and AP freelance writer Sean Farrell contributed to this report.

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