But Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and other stars whose accomplishments were muddied by accusations of steroids use lost even more ground, dropping below 40 percent in an election where 75 percent is needed.
And on his first day as a member of baseball's elite, Thomas said the living members among the 306 Hall of Famers don't want those with sullied reputations.
"Over the last year, doing a couple of charity events with Hall of Famers that are in, they've got a strong stance against anyone who's taken steroids. They do not want them in. They don't care when they started or when they did it, they do not want them in," he said. "I've got to take the right stance, too. No, they shouldn't get in. There shouldn't be cheating allowed to get into the Hall of Fame."
Making their second appearances on the ballot, Clemens dropped from 37.6 percent to 35.4 in voting by senior members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Bonds from 36.2 to 34.7 and Sosa from 12.5 to 7.2.
Bonds, baseball's career home run leader, is the only seven-time MVP in major league history. Clemens is the lone seven-time Cy Young Award winner.
"As for what they did, I don't think any of us will ever really know," Thomas said. "But I can just tell you, what I did was real and that's why I've got this smile on my face right now because the writers, they definitely got it right."
Mark McGwire, appearing for the eighth time, fell from 16.9 to 11 percent down from a peak of 25.6 in 2008. Rafael Palmeiro will be dropped from future ballots after falling to 25 votes and 4.4 percent below the 5 percent threshold necessary to remain eligible. One voter submitted a blank ballot.
"I can go home and sleep at night and rest," Thomas said, "so I don't have to worry about all the nonsense that the other people are going through, because I know I won't be getting a call in the middle of the night from someone saying, oh, he did this or he did that."
Miami Herald columnist Dan Le Batard, saying interested fans were more qualified than voting reporters, said he turned his ballot over Deadspin.com, which allowed readers to vote on how it should be cast.
"I hate all the moralizing we do in sports in general, but I especially hate the hypocrisy in this," Le Batard said in remarks posted by Deadspin. "I always like a little anarchy inside the cathedral we've made of sports."
BBWAA Secretary-Treasurer Jack O'Connell declined comment.
Maddux and Glavine become the first primarily starting pitchers to enter the Hall whose careers began after Bert Blyleven, who debuted in 1970. Maddux reached the major leagues in 1986 and Glavine a year later.
They also are the first teammates on a starting rotation to be elected together since 1946. Add in Cox, and the induction will be dominated by Braves.
"It's fitting, given the influence those two guys had on my career," Glavine said. "The thing that would have disappointed me the most had it not happened would have been a lost opportunity to go in with Bobby and Greg."
Maddux, eighth on the career list with 355 wins, was picked on 555 of 571 ballots. His 97.2 percentage was the eighth-highest in the history of voting.
Glavine, a left-hander with 305 victories, appeared on 525 ballots and received 91.9 percent. Thomas, who hit 521 homers, is the first Hall of Famer who spent the majority of his career as a designated hitter. He was at 478 and 83.7 percent.
Maddux and Glavine will be the first pair of living 300-game winners to be inducted in the same year.
"It's exciting for me to go in with my teammate," Maddux said.
Biggio received 427 votes and 74.8 percent, matching Nellie Fox in 1985 and Pie Traynor in 1947 for the smallest margin to just miss. Traynor made it the following year, and Fox was elected by the old Veterans Committee in 1997.
Biggio, who spent his entire career with the Houston Astros, appeared on 388 ballots last year in his initial appearance when writers failed to elect anyone and appears to be on track to gain election next year.
"Obviously, I'm disappointed to come that close," he said in a statement. "I feel for my family, the organization and the fans. Hopefully, next year."
Mike Piazza had 62.2 percent, up from 57.8 last year. Jack Morris was 78 votes short at 61.5 percent in his 15th and final appearance on the writers' ballot, a drop from 67.7 percent. Morris replaces Gil Hodges (63 percent in 1983) as the player with the highest-percentage of the vote not in the Hall. Lee Smith dropped to 171 from 272 last year, his percentage falling to 29.9 from 47.8.
Next year's vote will be even more crowded when Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Carlos Delgado and Gary Sheffield become eligible, five years after their retirements. The steroids group appears to creating a logjam.
Glavine, a leader of the players' union in the 1990s, wants to view how opinions evolve.
"I understand what's going on right now, and I think in time it's going to be interesting to see if the feeling on all those guys changes at all," he said.
2014 Hall of Fame voting
571 votes cast, 429 needed
Player Votes Pct
Greg Maddux 555 97.2
Tom Glavine 525 91.9
Frank Thomas 478 83.7
Craig Biggio 427 74.8
Mike Piazza 355 62.2
Jack Morris 351 61.5
Jeff Bagwell 310 54.3
Tim Raines 263 46.1
Roger Clemens 202 35.4
Barry Bonds 198 34.7
Lee Smith 171 29.9
Curt Schilling 167 29.2
Edgar Martinez 144 25.2
Alan Trammell 119 20.8
Mike Mussina 116 20.3
Jeff Kent 87 15.2
Fred McGriff 67 11.7
Mark McGwire 63 11.0
Larry Walker 58 10.2
Don Mattingly 47 8.2
Sammy Sosa 41 7.2
Rafael Palmeiro 25 4.4
Moises Alou 6 1.1
Hideo Nomo 6 1.1
Luis Gonzalez 5 0.9
Eric Gagne 2 0.4
J.T. Snow 2 0.4
Armando Benitez 1 0.2
Jacque Jones 1 0.2
Kenny Rogers 1 0.2
Sean Casey 0 0.0
Ray Durham 0 0.0
Todd Jones 0 0.0
Paul Lo Duca 0 0.0
Richie Sexson 0 0.0
Mike Timlin 0 0.0
Year-by-year inductees to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame
BBWAA: Elected by the Baseball Writers Association of America; VC: Elected by the Veterans Committee; NL: Elected by the Veterans Committee based on Negro League career; SCNL: Elected by the special committee on the Negro Leagues and the Pre-Negro League; PI: Elected by Pre-Integration (1871-1946) committee; G: Elected by Golden Era (1947-72) committee; E: Elected by Expansion Era (1973-present) committee:
2014 • BBWAA: Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas. E: Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, Joe Torre.
2013 • PI: Hank O'Day, Jacob Ruppert, Deacon White.
2012 • BBWAA: Barry Larkin. G: Ron Santo.
2011 • BBWAA: Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven. E: Pat Gillick.
2010 • BBWAA: Andre Dawson. VC: Whitey Herzog, Doug Harvey.
2009 • BBWAA: Rickey Henderson, Jim Rice. VC: Joe Gordon.
2008 • BBWAA: Goose Gossage. VC: Barney Dreyfuss, Bowie Kuhn, Walter O'Malley, Billy Southworth, Dick Williams.
2007 • BBWAA: Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken Jr.
2006 • BBWAA: Bruce Sutter. SCNL: Ray Brown, Willard Brown, Andy Cooper, Frank Grant, Pete Hill, Biz Mackey, Effa Manley, Jose Mendez, Alex Pompez, Cum Posey, Louis Santop, Mule Suttles, Ben Taylor, Cristobal Torriente, Sol White, J.L. Wilkinson, Jud Wilson.
2005 • BBWAA: Wade Boggs, Ryne Sandberg.
2004 • BBWAA: Dennis Eckersley, Paul Molitor.
2003 • BBWAA: Gary Carter, Eddie Murray.
2002 • BBWAA: Ozzie Smith.
2001 • BBWAA: Kirby Puckett, Dave Winfield. VC: Bill Mazeroski. NL: Hilton Smith.
2000 • BBWAA: Carlton Fisk, Tony Perez. VC: Sparky Anderson, Bid McPhee. NL: Turkey Stearnes.
1999 • BBWAA: George Brett, Nolan Ryan, Robin Yount. VC: Orlando Cepeda, Nestor Chylak, Frank Selee. NL: "Smokey" Joe Williams.
1998 • BBWAA: Don Sutton. VC: George Davis, Larry Doby, Lee MacPhail. NL: "Bullet" Joe Rogan.
1997 • BBWAA: Phil Niekro. VC: Nellie Fox, Tommy Lasorda. NL: Willie Wells.
1996 • VC: Jim Bunning, Ned Hanlon, Earl Weaver. NL: Bill Foster.
1995 • BBWAA: Mike Schmidt. VC: Richie Ashburn, William Hulbert, Vic Willis. NL: Leon Day.
1994 • BBWAA: Steve Carlton. VC: Leo Durocher, Phil Rizzuto.
1993 • BBWAA: Reggie Jackson.
1992 • BBWAA: Rollie Fingers, Tom Seaver. VC: Bill McGowan, Hal Newhouser.
1991 • BBWAA: Rod Carew, Ferguson Jenkins, Gaylord Perry. VC: Tony Lazzeri, Bill Veeck.
1990 • BBWAA: Joe Morgan, Jim Palmer.
1989 • BBWAA: Johnny Bench, Carl Yastrzemski. VC: Al Barlick, Red Schoendienst.
1988 • BBWAA: Willie Stargell.
1987 • BBWAA: Catfish Hunter, Billy Williams. NL: Ray Dandridge.
1986 • BBWAA: Willie McCovey. VC: Bobby Doerr, Ernie Lombardi.
1985 • BBWAA: Lou Brock, Hoyt Wilhelm. VC: Enos Slaughter, Arky Vaughan.
1984 • BBWAA: Luis Aparicio, Don Drysdale, Harmon Killebrew. VC: Rick Ferrell, Pee Wee Reese.
1983 • BBWAA: Juan Marichal, Brooks Robinson. VC: Walter Alston, George Kell.
1982 • BBWAA: Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson. VC: Happy Chandler, Travis Jackson.
1981 • BBWAA: Bob Gibson. VC: Rube Foster, Johny Mize.
1980 • BBWAA: Al Kaline, Duke Snider. VC: Chuck Klein, Tom Yawkey.
1979 • BBWAA: Willie Mays. VC: Warren Giles, Hack Wilson.
1978 • BBWAA: Eddie Mathews. VC: Addie Joss, Larry MacPhail.
1977 • BBWAA: Ernie Banks. VC: Al Lopez, Amos Rusie, Joe Sewell. NL: Martin DiHigo, Pop Lloyd.
1976 • BBWAA: Bob Lemon, Robin Roberts. VC: Roger Connor, Cal Hubbard, Fred Lindstrom. NL: Oscar Charleston.
1975 • BBWAA: Ralph Kiner. VC: Earl Averill, Bucky Harris, Billy Herman. NL: Judy Johnson.
1974 • BBWAA: Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle. VC: Jim Bottomley, Jocko Conlan, Sam Thompson. NL: Cool Papa Bell.
1973 • BBWAA: Roberto Clemente, Warren Spahn. VC: Billy Evans, George Kelly, Mickey Welch. NL: Monte Irvin.
1972 • BBWAA: Yogi Berra, Sandy Koufax, Early Wynn. VC: Lefty Gomez, Will Harridge, Ross Youngs. NL: Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard.
1971 • VC: Dave Bancroft, Jake Beckley, Chick Hafey, Harry Hooper, Joe Kelley, Rube Marquard, George Weiss. NL: Satchel Paige.
1970 • BBWAA: Lou Boudreau. VC: Earle Combs, Ford Frick, Jesse Haines.
1969 • BBWAA: Roy Campanella, Stan Musial. VC: Stan Coveleski, Waite Hoyt.
1968 • BBWAA: Joe Medwick. VC: Kiki Cuyler, Goose Goslin.
1967 • BBWAA: Red Ruffing. VC: Branch Rickey, Lloyd Waner.
1966 • BBWAA: Ted Williams. VC: Casey Stengel.
1965 • VC: Pud Galvin.
1964 • BBWAA: Luke Appling. VC: Red Faber, Burleigh Grimes, Miller Huggins, Tim Keefe, Heinie Manush, John Montgomery Ward.
1963 • VC: John Clarkson, Elmer Flick, Sam Rice, Eppa Rixey.
1962 • BBWAA: Bob Feller, Jackie Robinson. VC: Bill McKechnie, Edd Roush.
1961 • VC: Max Carey, Billy Hamilton.
1960 • None.
1959 • VC: Zack Wheat.
1958 • None.
1957 • VC: Sam Crawford, Joe McCarthy.
1956 • BBWAA: Joe Cronin, Hank Greenberg.
1955 • BBWAA: Joe DiMaggio, Gabby Hartnett, Ted Lyons, Dazzy Vance. VC: Home Run Baker, Ray Schalk.
1954 • BBWAA: Bill Dickey, Rabbit Maranville, Bill Terry.
1953 • BBWAA: Dizzy Dean, Al Simmons. VC: Ed Barrow, Chief Bender, Tom Connolly, Bill Klem, Bobby Wallace, Harry Wright.
1952 • None.
1951 • BBWAA: Jimmie Foxx, Mel Ott, Harry Heilmann, Paul Waner.
1950 • None.
1949 • BBWAA: Charlie Gehringer. VC: Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown, Kid Nichols.
1948 • BBWAA: Herb Pennock, Pie Traynor.
1947 • BBWAA: Mickey Cochrane, Frankie Frisch, Lefty Grove, Carl Hubbell.
1946 • VC: Jesse Burkett, Frank Chance, Jack Chesbro, Johnny Evers, Clark Griffith, Tommy McCarthy, Joe McGinnity, Eddie Plank, Joe Tinker, Rube Waddell, Ed Walsh.
1945 • VC: Roger Bresnahan, Dan Brouthers, Fred Clarke, Jimmy Collins, Ed Delahanty, Hugh Duffy, Hugh Jennings, King Kelly, Jim O'Rourke, Wilbert Robinson.
1944 • VC: Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis.
1943 • None.
1942 • BBWAA: Rogers Hornsby.
1941 • None.
1940 • None.
1939 • BBWAA: Eddie Collins, Lou Gehrig, Willie Keeler, George Sisler. VC: Cap Anson, Charles Comiskey, Candy Cummings, Buck Ewing, Hoss Radbourn, Albert Goodwill Spalding.
1938 • BBWAA: Grover Cleveland Alexander. VC: Alexander Joy Cartwright, Henry Chadwick.
1937 • BBWAA: Nap Lajoie, Tris Speaker, Cy Young. VC: Morgan Bulkeley, Ban Johnson, Connie Mack, John McGraw, George Wright.
1936 • BBWAA: Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner.