For much of his career, Barry Bonds was the best all-around player since Willie Mays.

He evolved into the best hitter since Ted Williams, a seven-time MVP and the single-season and all-time home run champion.

But he's not a Hall of Famer. Not now. Maybe not anytime soon.

In a clear referendum on baseball's steroid era, the Baseball Writers' Association of America, in perhaps its most-debated election in history, voted nobody into the Hall of Fame, according to results released on Wednesday. Not Bonds, who spent 15 of his 22 big-league seasons with the Giants, and not pitcher Roger Clemens, both soundly defeated in their first appearances on the ballot. The two were easily the most polarizing of the 37 candidates on the ballot.

The dots continue to be connected to the Bay Area, the epicenter of the steroid era, dating from the Bash Brothers (Oakland A's Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire) to the BALCO scandal (Bonds, Jason Giambi) to the testosterone suspensions (Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon) to Wednesday's election results.

Parallel career paths

At least 75 percent of votes were needed from 569 BBWAA voters, and Bonds received just 36.2 percent or 206 votes, eight fewer than Clemens, whose career paralleled Bonds' on many fronts. Seven MVPs vs. seven Cy Young awards, and both accelerated their games in their late 30s and early 40s when players generally fade away.

Both were indicted on charges of perjury for lying about steroid use. Clemens was cleared on all counts. Bonds was convicted of obstruction of justice and has appealed.

Craig Biggio, who played 20 years with the Houston Astros, received the most support with 68.2 percent. It's the first time since 1996 the writers didn't elect anyone, and it'll be the first time since 1965 that no living person will get inducted.

"The Hall of Fame is the greatest honor a player can get - a very small percentage of players," Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig told reporters at an owners' meeting in Arizona. "Next year, I think you'll have a rather large class, and this year, for whatever reasons, you had a couple of guys who came very close.

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