Palmeiro elected to college baseball hall

NEW YORK -- Rafael Palmeiro, who infamously wagged his finger at Congress four years ago while denying he used steroids only to test positive a few months later, was elected to the College Baseball Hall of Fame.

Palmeiro, a four-time major league All-Star whose reputation was tainted by the positive test, was one of 10 former players and coaches elected for the hall's fourth induction class Tuesday.

The 44-year-old Palmeiro starred at Mississippi State from 1983-85 and was the first Triple Crown winner in Southeastern Conference history. He played 20 years in the majors and is one of four players with 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, but his chances of making the Baseball Hall of Fame are in jeopardy after the steroids controversy.

The college hall, run by the Lubbock, Texas-based College Baseball Foundation, focuses solely on what players and coaches achieved during their college careers.

Palmeiro's college coach, Ron Polk, one of the most outspoken critics of the NCAA and currently a volunteer assistant at UAB, was also among those elected, along with former big leaguers Joe Carter (Wichita State), Darren Dreifort (Wichita State), Kirk Dressendorfer (Texas), Barry Larkin (Michigan), Keith Moreland (Texas) and Todd Walker (LSU).

University of St. Francis coach Gordie Gillespie, who at 82 years old and in his 57th season, has 1,797 wins -- the most in college baseball history, and Branch Rickey, a former player and coach at Ohio Wesleyan and Michigan best known for signing Jackie Robinson to a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers, were also elected.

The inductees will be honored during a celebration in Lubbock on July 3.

The 10 were selected from dozens of nominees by a committee of more than 110 voters who include retired and active coaches, media and previous inductees. Last year's inductees included Robinson, Dick Howser, Ben McDonald, Burt Hooton and Neal Heaton.

"This class is not short on household names in college baseball," hall co-chairman Jeff Chase said. "Last year's group was dominated by pitchers, but this year, the position players have taken over."