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Al Kaline

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Al Kaline
Al Kaline
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB Debut
June 25, 1953 for the Detroit Tigers
Final game
October 2, 1974 for the Detroit Tigers
Career Statistics
AVG     .297
HR     399
Hits     3007
Career Highlights and Awards
  • Youngest player ever to win a major-league batting title, at 20 years; Ty Cobb was one day older.
  • Collected over 3,000 hits and 399 home runs.
  • Won ten gold glove awards and had a .987 career fielding percentage.
  • Played 242 consecutive games without an error.
  • Became the second player to hit two home runs in one inning; the first was Joe DiMaggio.
  • Played in 12 All-Star games.
  • Never spent time in the minors and spent his entire career with the same team.

Albert William Kaline (born December 19, 1934 in Baltimore, Maryland) is a former Major League Baseball player. Kaline was active from 1953 to 1974 and spent his entire career with the Detroit Tigers (hence the nickname "Mr. Tiger"), bypassing the minor league system and joining the team directly from high school as a "bonus baby" signee. For most of his career, Kaline played in the outfield, mainly right field, where he was known for his strong throwing arm. He once threw out two baserunners at home in the same inning. Near the end of his career, he also played at first base and, in his last season, was the Tigers' designated hitter.

In 1955, Kaline hit .340 for the season, becoming the youngest player ever to win a major league batting title, a distinction previously held by the Tiger's hall-of-famer Ty Cobb. During the 1955 season, Kaline became the 13th man in major league history to hit two home runs in the same inning and finished the year with 200 hits, 27 HRs and 102 RBIs to go along with the batting title. Although it would be his only batting title, in 1956 he followed that great season with another as he batted .314 with 27 HRs and 128 RBIs and became one of baseball's brightest young stars and a future hall-of-famer. In 1958, he amassed 23 assists, extremely high for an outfielder. Versatile and well-rounded, he won ten Gold Glove Awards (1957-59 and 1961-67) for excellence in the field and appeared in fifteen All-Star games (1955-67, 1971, 1974). He was a member of the World Series championship team in 1968 and excelled in his only World Series appearance by batting .379 with 2 home runs and 8 RBIs helping the Tigers come back from a 3 games to 1 deficit to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in 7 games.

Kaline finished his career with 3,007 hits (25th on the all-time list) and 399 home runs (a Tigers record and 43rd on the all-time list). He batted over .300 nine times in his career to finish with a lifetime batting average of .297 and although he was never considered a true power hitter, during his career he hit 25 or more home runs seven times. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980, his first year of eligibility, and subsequently honored by the Tigers as the first of their players to have his uniform number (6) retired. With earlier legend Ty Cobb having been more respected and feared than loved, Kaline is the most popular player ever to play for the Tigers, and possibly the most popular athlete in Detroit history.

Since retiring from the playing field, Kaline has lived in the Detroit area, and has remained active within the Tigers organization, serving first as a color commentator on the team's television broadcasts (1975-2002) mostly with play by play announcer and former Tiger George Kell, and then later as a consultant to the team. Cherry Street, which ran behind the left-field stands at Tiger Stadium, was renamed Kaline Drive in his honor.

In 1999, he ranked Number 76 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Later that year, on September 27, when the team played its last game at Tiger Stadium, Kaline was invited to appear in uniform and present the last lineup card to the umpires. He did so along with George Brett, considered one of the greatest players ever for the Tigers' opponents that day, the Kansas City Royals.

Since 2003, Kaline has served as a Special Assistant to Tigers President/CEO/General Manager Dave Dombrowski. Former Tigers teammate Willie Horton also holds this position, and the two threw out the first pitch of the 2006 World Series at Comerica Park.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

Preceded by:
Bobby Avila
American League Batting Champion
Succeeded by:
Mickey Mantle
Preceded by:
Ernie Banks
Lou Gehrig Memorial Award
Succeeded by:
Pete Rose

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