Detroit Tigers Star Al Kaline Dies at 85


DETROIT (AP) — Al Kaline, who spent his entire 22-season Hall of Fame career with the Detroit Tigers and was known affectionately as “Mr. Tiger,” died Monday. He was 85.

John Morad, a friend of Kaline’s, confirmed to The Associated Press that he died Monday at his home in Michigan. Morad, who spoke first to the Detroit Free Press, said he’d been in contact with Kaline’s son. No cause of death was given.

Kaline was the youngest player to win the American League batting title in 1955 at age 20 with a .340 batting average. The right fielder was a 15-time All-Star, won 10 Gold Gloves and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1980 in his first year of eligibility.

The beloved No. 6 later sat behind a microphone as a Tigers broadcaster from 1976 to 2001 and was also a special assistant to the general manager.

Kaline came straight out of Baltimore’s Southern High School to the majors, making his debut on June 25, 1953 — six days after being signed by Tigers scout Ed Katalinas. He took over as Detroit’s everyday right fielder in 1954, and in 1955 he hit .340, becoming the youngest player — besting Ty Cobb by a day — to win the American League batting title.

Kaline never hit 30 home runs in a season and topped the 100-RBI mark only three times, but his overall consistency at the plate and his exceptional fielding and throwing put him among the top AL outfielders. read more

10 Comments on Detroit Tigers Star Al Kaline Dies at 85

  1. The model ball player. Grew up watching him. Never made it about himself. Team player. One of the best arms to ever play in the outfield. Now its a clown show.

  2. He was a great guy. Back in a previous life when I was playing little league baseball his kids were in the same league, and the same age group. I’d like to say we beat them, but I can’t. In fact we got beat by everyone for a couple of those years. It was still fun. Everyone in Detroit thought Al Kaline was a great guy, because he was. The 68 World Series was an incredible memory. For you mathematicians that was 1 year after the 67 riots. Another incredible memory for a young kid. There is a hell of a good documentary that ties those to events together, I just can’t remember the name of it.

  3. What a player. He was one of the greats, back when it was still a game. I remember listening to the 1968 world series on a contraband radio during class. I haven’t followed baseball for years, bur I still remember watching him play. RIP Al. You were one of a kind.

  4. Oh, I so loved Al Kaline! My dad and I watched all the games and the World Series was one memory I treasure. Dad was a baseball nut and I inherited that love.

    I don’t watch it anymore after it became all about the money. Kirby Puckett (MN Twins) reminded me of Al. He played for the Twins because he DIDN’T worship the money. When the Yankees tried to buy him, he said no. So few heros today.

    RIP Al and RIP Kirby.

  5. Claudia, yes I was there. 67 and 68 we were out at 16 mile and Middlebelt. We were right in the flight path for the federales as they were flying in during the riots. I was 11. In 68 we were downtown Detroit the night they clinched the pennant. That didn’t turn into a riot but some cars got tipped over, they probably burned a couple too. Things like that make an impression on young skulls full of mush.

  6. efemdy – you reminded me of what I got away with in 5th grade at a Catholic school. My teacher was a fantastic Nun… but anyway… I smuggled my grandfather’s, lunchbox-size, battery-powered, tube-driven Motorola radio into class and listened to the 1961 World Series on a small earphone! The box had a front, flip-up lid and I had it all set up for the right station. Yankees against the Reds. Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle! Couldn’t stand to miss a game. And, ah, yeah, I was a clever kid. No one noticed it!


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