LUBBOCK, Texas – A pair of Mississippi State Bulldogs take their place among college baseball’s all-time greats this weekend in Lubbock, Texas, when former MSU skipper Ron Polk and three-time all-American Rafael Palmeiro are inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame.
They are among 10 players and coaches in the fourth induction class tabbed for this weekend’s enshrinement by the Lubbock-based College Baseball Foundation.
Formal induction ceremonies are scheduled for the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center and are a part of the four-day college baseball celebration in Lubbock. The inductees were recognized Thursday night at the annual College Baseball Awards Show at the United Spirit Arena, a Friday morning ring presentation and autograph session, and a July 4th parade and fan fest.
Polk, the winningest coach in any sport in the storied history of the Southeastern Conference history, is one of only three coaches to lead three different schools to the NCAA College World Series – Georgia Southern, Mississippi State and the University of Georgia. In 2008 he concluded his 35-year career as a head coach with a career record of 1,373-700-2 (.662). His teams made eight College World Series appearances, won five SEC championships and made 23 NCAA regional tournament appearances.
Palmeiro, along with fellow inductee Kirk Dressendorfer, was one of only 11 players in history to be named first-team All-American three times.
The 1983 Baseball America Freshman of the Year twice earned All-Southeastern Conference honors and was an SEC All-Tournament Team selection in 1983. In 1984, he became the SEC’s first triple crown winner, posting a .415 batting average with a school-record 29 home runs and 94 RBIs. Polk and Palmeiro become the second and third inductees from Mississippi State. Former Bulldog All-American Will Clark, a member of MSU’s much-celebrated 1985 College World Series team, was named to the inaugural CBF Hall of Fame class in 2006.
Joining Polk and Palmeiro in this year’s HoF induction class are Joe Carter, outfielder, Wichita State; Darren Dreifort, pitcher/DH, Wichita State; Kirk Dressendorfer, pitcher, Texas; Barry Larkin, shortstop, Michigan; Keith Moreland, catcher/utility, Texas; and Todd Walker, second baseman, Louisiana State, Vintage Era inductee Branch Rickey, a player and coach at Ohio Wesleyan; and small college inductee Gordie Gillespie, head coach at St. Francis.
Rickey, a player and coach from Ohio Wesleyan and Michigan, is the CBF Hall of Fame’s initial Vintage-Era inductee, a designation for those who played or coached prior to 1947. St. Francis head coach Gordie Gillespie is the Hall’s initial small-school inductee. Gillespie has coached for more than five decades at Lewis University and St. Francis.
Miss. State Media Relations