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Writers turn down proposal

ST. LOUIS -- Baseball writers have turned down a proposal to form a committee for developing guidelines on evaluating players from the steroids era in Hall of Fame voting.

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander, who brought the matter up at a Chicago chapter meeting last month, made the proposal Tuesday at a national meeting of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

The proposal was voted down 30-25.

Current rules ask voters to consider a player's "record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team[s] on which the player played." Writers who have been BBWAA members for 10 consecutive years are eligible to vote for the Hall of Fame.

Players need 75 percent of the vote for election, and Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice were the only electees this year.

Mark McGwire, the first test of the steroids era, received 118 votes (21.9 percent) this year, down from the 128 votes he got in each of his first two tries.

In other news, the BBWWA chose three finalists for the Hall of Fame's J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing: Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun; Joe Giuliotti, a retired writer of the Boston Herald; and Bill Madden of the New York Daily News.

The winner will be announced in December.