CHICAGO -- Sammy Sosa received 36 votes, or 6.6 percent, from the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Tuesday, far below the numbers needed for induction into Cooperstown, but enough to remain on the ballot for another year.
For the third straight year, Sosa's vote totals went down. In 2013, he received 71 votes, or 12.5 percent, and those numbers dropped in 2014 when he got 41 votes, or 7.2 percent. A candidate must receive 75 percent of the vote from BBWAA members to gain election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and at least five percent to stay on the ballot.
Lee Smith, who saved 478 games over 18 seasons in the big leagues, including eight years with the Cubs from 1980-87, will also stay on the ballot. He received 166 votes (30.2 percent) this year, a slight increase from last year when Smith got 171 votes (29.9 percent).
The BBWAA did elect four players into the Hall on Tuesday: Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio.
On Wednesday, Sosa congratulated Martinez on his election to Cooperstown on Twitter:
"Congratulations @45PedroMartinez on his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame! #HOF2015 Pedro's election represents the influence of Dominicans in baseball's past, present and future generations. #proud
Sosa belted 609 home runs over 18 Major League seasons, including 13 with the Cubs, and had the numbers that should have made it easy for him to join baseball's elite. But his career had other elements for Hall of Fame voters to consider. In 2005, he attended a hearing in front of Congress and had his attorney testify on his behalf, denying any use of performance-enhancing drugs. Several years later, in June 2009, the New York Times reported that Sosa was among 104 Major League players who tested positive for PEDs in 2003.
Sosa may not have gotten much support from the BBWAA voters, but he was popular with Cubs fans.
"They didn't respond to me right away, but the way I won the crowd was the way I was playing," he said in the book "A Century of Wrigley Field: The Official History of the Friendly Confines."
"I played hard every day," Sosa said. "They saw me do that, and I responded to them, and you have a great relationship. I made so many people happy in Chicago when I was there, and I earned my respect."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.