COOPERSTOWN, New York (AP) -- Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire will have less time to remain eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot under changes made on Saturday.
The Hall of Fame's board cut a player's eligibility from 15 years to 10, which gives McGwire a maximum of two more appearances on the writers' ballot. Bonds, Clemens and Sosa, shunned so far along with other Steroids Era stars, can be considered up to eight more times each by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, dropped from 37.6 percent to 35.4 last year in his second ballot appearance, well short of the 75 percent needed for election. Bonds, a seven-time MVP and Major League Baseball's career home runs leader, fell from 36.2 percent to 34.7.
McGwire dropped from 16.9 percent to 11, down from a peak of 25.6 in 2008. Sosa, who hit 609 homers, dropped from 12.5 percent to 7.2 -- close to falling below the 5 percent threshold for remaining on the ballot.
Three players with 11-15 years will remain eligible: Don Mattingly (15th year in 2015), Alan Trammell (14th) and Lee Smith (13th).
This is just the second change in voting rules in 30 years. In 1991, players on MLB's permanent ineligible list were barred from the ballot, a move that prevented career hits leader Pete Rose from being considered. Rose agreed to a lifetime ban in 1989 after an investigation by MLB concluded he bet on the Cincinnati Reds to win while managing the team.