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01/05/11 3:00 PM EST

Palmeiro falls well short in Hall of Fame vote

ARLINGTON -- Former Rangers first baseman Rafael Palmeiro is one of four players in Major League history who finished with at least 3,000 hits and 500 home runs in his career.

He remains the only one of those four who is not in the Hall of Fame. Palmeiro instead is being included with Mark McGwire and others who are being kept out of Cooperstown because of their possible involvement with performance-enhancing drugs during baseball's so-called "steroids era."

Palmeiro was on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year and received only 11 percent of the vote in the balloting conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. McGwire, who finished his career with 583 home runs but also admitted that he used steroids when he set a Major League-record by hitting 70 home runs in 1998, was on the ballot for the fifth time and received just 19.8 percent of the votes.

A player must receive at least 75 percent of the vote to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Second baseman Roberto Alomar and pitcher Bert Blyleven both received more than the required number of votes and will be inducted into the Hall of Fame next summer along with former general manager Pat Gillick.

A player can stay on the ballot for 15 seasons. After that, they fall under the jurisdiction of the various veteran committees. Blyleven, who was with the Rangers in 1976-77, was elected in his 14th year of eligibility. Alomar made it in his second year.

The rules also state that a player must receive at least five percent of the votes to remain on the ballot. Former Rangers outfielder Juan Gonzalez barely made the cut at 5.2 percent, while pitcher Kevin Brown got knocked out at 2.1 percent.

Former Rangers outfielder Jose Canseco wrote in his autobiography that he introduced Palmeiro to steroids while they were teammates in Texas in 1992-93. Palmeiro, speaking before a Congressional committee in March 2005, adamantly denied he ever used steroids. But he tested positive for steroids later that summer and was suspended for 10 games.

The announcement came on Aug. 1, one day after the induction ceremonies in Cooperstown for second baseman Ryne Sandberg and Wade Boggs. Testing positive for steroids is likely the biggest reason why Palmeiro has been rejected by the vast majority of Hall of Fame voters.

Palmeiro insisted he did not knowingly take steroids but was injected with them by former Orioles teammate Miguel Tejada. Palmeiro insisted he thought he was being given a shot of B-12. Palmeiro continues to claim his innocence.

"I was telling the truth then, and I am telling the truth now," Palmeiro told SI.com last month. "I don't know what else I can say. I have never taken steroids. For people who think I took steroids intentionally, I'm never going to convince them. But I hope the voters judge my career fairly and don't look at one mistake."

Congress investigated Palmeiro for possible perjury but did not pursue charges. Former Congressman Tom Davis, who was the head of that committee, told AOL Fanhouse earlier this week that Palmeiro deserves the benefit of the doubt and induction into the Hall of Fame.

"I feel bad for him," Davis said. "I believe that he didn't know he was taking steroids. I think he told the truth. We conducted an investigation and that was the conclusion our investigators came to."

Palmeiro played with the Rangers from 1989-93 and again in 1999-2003. He remains second behind Gonzalez among all-time Rangers leaders in home runs, RBIs and total bases. He is the Rangers' all-time leader in runs and games played. He has not been inducted into the Rangers Hall of Fame.

Overall, Palmeiro finished his career with 3,020 hits and 569 home runs. Other than Palmeiro, only Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Eddie Murray have finished with at least 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. All three are in Cooperstown.

Blyleven will be the seventh Hall of Famer to have spent at least a portion of his career with the Rangers. Outfielder Ted Williams was the Rangers' first manager and second baseman Nelson Fox was one of his coaches.

The other five are all pitchers: Blyleven, Nolan Ryan, Ferguson Jenkins, Gaylord Perry and Rich Gossage. Ryan is the only one who officially went into the Hall of Fame as a Ranger.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.