Al Kaline, the Hall of Fame outfielder who played his entire 22-season career for the Detroit Tigers, died Monday at his home in Michigan. “Mr. Tiger” — as he was affectionately known — was 85.
Kaline was the youngest player to win the American League batting title, in 1955 at age 20 with a .340 average. He was an All-Star in 15 seasons and won 10 Gold Gloves. The beloved No. 6 later sat behind a microphone as a Tigers broadcaster and was a special assistant to the general manager.
Kaline was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1980 in his first year of eligibility.
Kaline came straight out of Baltimore’s Southern High School to the majors, making his debut on June 25, 1953. He took over as Detroit’s everyday right fielder in 1954, and quickly became a fan favorite at Briggs Stadium, later renamed Tiger Stadium.
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.
Kaline finished his career with 3,007 hits and 399 home runs. He scored 1,622 runs and had 1,582 RBIs. He got his 3,000th hit back in Baltimore, slicing a double down the right field line in September 1974, his final season.
In his only World Series, Kaline hit .379 with two home runs and eight RBIs as the Tigers overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat St. Louis for the 1968 championship.