Several voters said their decisions were for this vote only and they planned to reassess their position each year. Some said that they wouldn’t consider voting for Bonds, Clemens or Sosa this year because they didn’t want them to have the additional honor of being elected on their first ballot.
Players who have appeared in 10 seasons and have been retired for five years are eligible for consideration by a six-member BBWAA screening committee, and a player goes on the ballot if he is supported by at least two screening committee members. A player remains on the ballot for up to 15 elections as long as he gets 5 percent of the votes every year.
Ballots must be submitted to the BBWAA by Dec. 31. Inductions will take place July 28.
Voters were contacted by telephone and email from Wednesday to Friday.
Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Curt Schilling also are among the 24 first-time eligibles, and Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines are the top holdover candidates.
AP Sports Writers Janie McCauley, Noah Trister and Ben Walker contributed to this report.