Suspected steroid users Rafael Palmeiro and Juan Gonzalez are on baseball’s Hall of Fame ballot for the first time and join Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar, both having fallen just short in last year’s vote.
Former Most Valuable Players Jeff Bagwell and Larry Walker, and former Rookies of the Year Benito Santiago and Raul Mondesi also will be on the 33-man ballot, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America said yesterday.
Mark McGwire, 10th on the career list with 583 homers, received 128 votes (23.7 percent) in totals announced last January following his fourth appearance on the ballot — well under the 75 percent needed for election. He admitted before last season to using steroids and human growth hormone during his playing days.
Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, both under indictments on charges related to their denials of steroids use, become eligible for the Hall ballot in two years.
Palmeiro finished with 569 home runs (12th all time) and 3,020 hits, joining Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Eddie Murray as the only players in the 500-3,000 club. Palmeiro wagged his finger at Congress in 2005 while denying he used steroids, then tested positive a few months later and was suspended for 10 days.
Jose Canseco claimed in his 2005 book that he used steroids with Gonzalez, who was 35 when he played his last major league game. Gonzalez hit 434 home runs and was the AL MVP in 1996 and 1998 for Texas.
When Andre Dawson was elected in January, Blyleven fell five votes short in his 13th season of eligibility and Alomar finished eight shy in his first season of eligibility. It was the first time two candidates in the same election missed by fewer than 10 votes.
BBWAA members who have been with the organization for at least 10 consecutive years may vote through Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 5.
The complete ballot: Alomar, Carlos Baerga, Bagwell, Harold Baines, Blyleven, Bret Boone, Kevin Brown, John Franco, Gonzalez, Marquis Grissom, Lenny Harris, Bobby Higginson, Charles Johnson, Barry Larkin, Al Leiter, Edgar Martinez, Tino Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, McGwire, Mondesi, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, John Olerud, Palmeiro, Dave Parker, Tim Raines, Kirk Rueter, Santiago, Lee Smith, B.J. Surhoff, Alan Trammell, Walker.
Torrealba to Texas Free agent catcher Yorvit Torrealba agreed to a two-year, $6.25 million with the Rangers, filling one of the biggest offseason needs for the AL champions. The Rangers also agreed to a $1.2 million, one-year contract with righthander Mark Lowe, the reliever acquired from Seattle with Cliff Lee in July. Torrealba hit .271 with seven homers and 37 RBIs in 95 games with San Diego last season . . . Infielder Juan Uribe is closing in on a three-year deal to leave the Giants for the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, two people with knowledge of the situation told the AP. Uribe, 31, hit .248 with 24 homers and 85 RBIs in 2010 while playing in 148 games, including 103 at shortstop. He homered and drove in five runs in the World Series . . . A full postseason share on the World Series champion Giants was worth $317,631, down from a record $350,030 for the Yankees in 2009. The commissioner’s office said a full share on the losing Rangers was $246,280, down from $265,358 for the NL champion Phillies last year.
Marlins eye Vazquez Righthander Javier Vazquez and the Marlins reached a preliminary agreement on a $7 million, one-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told the AP . . . Victor Martinez will make $12 million next year in the first season of his $50 million, four-year contract with the Tigers. The catcher and designated hitter will receive $13 million each in 2012 and 2013, then earn $12 million in the final season, according to contract terms obtained by the AP . . . Pirates third baseman Andy LaRoche and infielder Delwyn Young have become free agents after clearing waivers. . . . The Tigers designated righthander Zach Miner, who missed all of last season because of elbow problems, for assignment.
McDougald dies at 82 Gil McDougald, an All-Star infielder who helped the Yankees win five World Series championships during the 1950s, has died. He was 82. The Yankees released a statement saying McDougald died Sunday of prostate cancer in Wall Township, N.J. McDougald batted .276 with 112 home runs in his 10-year major league career with the Yankees and played a key role on one of baseball’s greatest dynasties. (Obituary, B12.) . . . Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller, 92, is improving after being hospitalized in Cleveland with pneumonia.