Among the 2009 Hall of Fame class is one Vintage Era inductee and the first "small-school" inductee.
Branch Rickey, player and coach from Ohio Wesleyan and Michigan is the Vintage Era inductee. The Vintage Era designation is for those who played or coached prior to 1947.
The University of St. Francis head coach Gordie Gillespie is the small-school inductee. His career at Lewis University and St. Francis has seen him become the winningest coach in college baseball history. The "small-school" designation is for two- and four-year schools other than NCAA Division I.
Joe Carter, who played at Wichita State from 1979 to 1981, was named National Player of the Year by Sporting News in 1981. A two-time first-team All-American, he was twice named MVP of the Missouri Valley Conference and three times named to the All-MVC team. In 2007, he was the top vote-getter when the MVC chose its All-Centennial baseball team.[ ^ Jump to top ]
Darren Dreifort led Wichita State to consecutive College World Series appearances from 1991 to 1993, including appearances in both the 1991 and 1993 final games. The winner of Golden Spikes and Smith Awards in 1993, he was a two-time first-team All-American and All-MVC performer. He was the 1993 MVC Pitcher of the Year and in 2007 he was named to the MVC All-Centennial team as both a designated hitter and relief pitcher.[ ^ Jump to top ]
Kirk Dressendorfer, who pitched at Texas from 1988 to 1990, was a three-time first team All-American, making him one of only 11 in history to be so honored. His 45 wins made him one of the most decorated players in Southwest Conference history as he won three SWC MVP awards and three All-SWC team honors. He also was named to three All-SWC Postseason Tournament Teams.[ ^ Jump to top ]
Gordie Gillespie represents the new “small school” category. He is the first non-Division I inductee and also the first active head coach inductee. He remains active at the University of St. Francis (IL) at age 82 and his 1,783 wins entering the 2009 campaign make him college baseball’s all-time winningest coach.[ ^ Jump to top ]
Michigan’s Barry Larkin was a two-time first-team All-American shortstop. He was the first two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and in 1983 he was the Big Ten Postseason Tournament MVP. He twice led the Wolverines to the College World Series and finished his career with a .361 batting average.[ ^ Jump to top ]
Keith Moreland was a three-time first-team All-Southwest Conference performer as a third baseman at the University of Texas, and twice named first-team All-American (1973, 1975). He helped lead the Longhorns to three consecutive Southwest Conference crowns, three straight NCAA Regional/District titles, a trio of College World Series appearances and the 1975 National Championship. His teams went a combined 160-21 in his three seasons.[ ^ Jump to top ]
Mississippi State’s Rafael Palmeiro, along with Dressendorfer, was one of only 11 players in history to be named first-team All-American three times. He was twice named All-Southeastern Conference and was an SEC All-Tournament Team selection in 1983. In 1984, he was the SEC’s first triple crown winner with a .415 batting average, 29 home runs and 94 RBIs.[ ^ Jump to top ]
Ron Polk is one of only three coaches to lead three different schools to the College World Series — Georgia Southern, Mississippi State and the University of Georgia. He concluded his 35-year career as a head coach last spring 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 Regional appearances.[ ^ Jump to top ]
Perhaps best known for signing Jackie Robinson to a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey was named the most influential figure of the 20th century in sports by ESPN. He played his first two seasons at Ohio Wesleyan before signing a professional contract, whereupon he assumed the head coaching duties. While playing for the St. Louis Browns, he coached baseball and football at Allegheny College. Upon completion of his playing career, he began studies at the University of Michigan Law School. He served double-duty in Ann Arbor as the Wolverines baseball coach, where his most famous pupil was Hall of Famer George Sisler. A Hall of Famer himself, he later embarked on a career as a Major League manager and executive and is credited with creating the concept of farm systems as well as the batting helmet.[ ^ Jump to top ]
Todd Walker played second base at LSU from 1992 to 1994 and was a two-time first-team All-American. Arguably the greatest position player in the annals of LSU baseball, he was named All-SEC three times and in 1993 was named Most Outstanding Player at the College World Series for the National Champion Tigers. He also was named to the Omaha World-Herald All-Time College World Series Team.