Former pitcher Jack Morris, who received 67 percent of the vote in 2012, again fell short at 67.7 percent this year, his 14th on the ballot. Jeff Bagwell earned 59.6 percent of the vote in his third time on the ballot, while former New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza - another first-time candidate - got 57.8 percent. Tim Raines was the only other former player named on more than 50 percent of ballots.
Voters previously kept candidates such as Mark McGwire, who has admitted using steroids, and Rafael Palmeiro, who failed a drug test. They've now done the same with Clemens, Bonds and Sosa, who all have denied drug use. McGwire got 16.9 percent of the vote this year, with Palmeiro at 8.8 percent.
The BBWAA ballot includes the sentence: "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."
"The legends of the game of baseball, they have some very strong opinions about guys who cheated," Larkin said. "The problem is we don't know if they cheated."
A Dec. 13, 2007, report by former U.S. senator George Mitchell accused Clemens of using steroids and human growth hormone in 1998, 2000 and 2001. Clemens's name was mentioned in the Mitchell report 82 times.
In June 2012, he was acquitted of lying to Congress about his use of performance-enhancing drugs. Clemens's first prosecution ended in a mistrial in July 2011 after government lawyers showed jurors evidence the judge had excluded.
Bonds, also identified by the Mitchell Report as a steroid user, was convicted in April 2010 by a federal jury in San Francisco of obstructing a U.S. probe of drug use by professional athletes. Jurors couldn't agree whether Bonds lied when he told a grand jury in 2003 that he didn't knowingly take steroids, didn't take human growth hormone and didn't receive injections from his trainer. A mistrial was declared on those counts.
Bonds was sentenced to two years' probation and 30 days of house arrest, and appealed the ruling in December 2011.
Sosa, 44, tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003, according to a 2009 Times report. He told a U.S. congressional committee in 2005 that he never used banned muscle-building substances.
Clemens and Bonds are the most accomplished players to fail to gain election to the Baseball Hall of Fame since the Mitchell Report's release.
Clemens, known as "the Rocket" for his fastball, pitched in the Major Leagues until he was 44. He left the game after the 2007 season with a 354-184 record, a 3.12 earned run average and 4,672 strikeouts, third in history behind Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson.
Bonds hit 73 home runs in 2001 to break McGwire's single- season record. He finished his 22-year career with a .298 batting average, 1,996 runs batted in and 514 stolen bases while winning eight Gold Glove awards for his defense in the outfield.