Albert William Kaline (/ˈkeɪlaɪn/; born December 19, 1934), nicknamed "Mr. Tiger", is an American former Major League Baseball right fielder. He is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Kaline played his entire 22-year baseball career with the Detroit Tigers. For most of his career, Kaline played in the outfield, mainly as a right fielder where he won ten Gold Gloves and was known for his strong throwing arm. He was selected to 18 All-Star Games and was selected as an All-Star each year between 1955 and 1967.
Near the end of his career, Kaline also played as first baseman and, in his last season, was the Tigers' designated hitter. He retired not long after reaching the 3,000 hit milestone. Immediately after retiring from playing, he became the Tigers' TV color commentator, a position he held until 2002. Kaline still works for the Tigers as a front office official.
Kaline with the Detroit Tigers in 1957
|Born: December 19, 1934|
|June 25, 1953, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 2, 1974, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Runs batted in||1,583|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Vote||88.3% (first ballot)|
Kaline was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. His family was poor. Several relatives played semi-pro baseball, but no one in his family had graduated from high school. When he was eight years old, Kaline developed osteomyelitis and had a segment of bone removed from his left foot. The surgery left him with scarring and permanent deformity, but he was an outstanding pitcher in youth baseball. Kaline had learned to throw a fastball, changeup and curveball by the age of nine.
He attended Baltimore's Southern High School, where he starred in basketball and also played football until he sustained a cheek injury. When he tried out for the baseball team, there was no room on the pitching staff so Kaline moved to the outfield. He earned all-state honors in baseball all four years. Kaline said that he was a poor student but that he was well liked by his teachers. He said that his teachers passed him and that they believed he would become a baseball player.
Kaline bypassed the minor league system and joined the Tigers directly from high school as an 18-year-old "bonus baby" signee, receiving $35,000 ($327,755 in today's dollars) to sign with the team. He made his major league debut on June 25, 1953 in Philadelphia as a late-inning replacement for outfielder Jim Delsing. Kaline wore number 25 during his rookie campaign, but asked teammate Pat Mullin for his No. 6 after the 1953 season ended. Kaline wore the number for the rest of his major league playing career. He was known simply as "Six" in the Tiger clubhouse.
In 1955, at age 20, Kaline ended the season with a .340 batting average, becoming the youngest player ever to win the American League batting title. No 20-year-old major league player had won a batting title since Ty Cobb in 1907. During the 1955 season, Kaline became the 13th man in major league history to hit two home runs in the same inning, became the youngest to hit three home runs in one game, and finished the year with 200 hits, 27 home runs and 102 RBIs. He also finished second to Yogi Berra in the American League's 1955 Most Valuable Player Award voting. He was selected to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the first in a string of consecutive All-Star selections that lasted through 1967.
Kaline followed in 1956 with a .314 batting average with 27 home runs and 128 RBIs. He led the league in outfield assists with 18 in 1956 and again in 1958 with 23. Kaline was out for several games in 1958 after he was hit by a pitch. He missed several games in 1959 after he was hit by a thrown ball and sustained a fracture in his cheekbone. Kaline had been knocked out from the blow and initial speculation was that he could miss six weeks of the season.
In 1961, Kaline hit .324 to finish second in the AL batting race (behind teammate Norm Cash). The Tigers won 101 games, to date the third-highest win total in team history, but still finished eight games behind a New York Yankees team that was led by the home run heroics of Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. Kaline began the 1962 season hitting .345 with 13 HR and 38 RBI in 35 games. On May 28 of that season, he sustained a broken collarbone while making a game-ending catch on a ball hit by New York's Elston Howard. He missed 57 games due to the injury and Detroit was unable to seriously compete for a pennant due to his absence. When healthy Kaline was great in 1962, hitting 29 home runs and driving in 94 runs in only 100 games.
By late March 1963, Kaline said that he felt good and he was hitting .373 in 53 spring training at-bats. In the 1963 regular season, Kaline hit .312 with 27 home runs and 101 RBI, finishing second to Howard in the American League's Most Valuable Player Award voting. Kaline experienced pain in his left foot, the one that had been affected by osteomyelitis as a child, throughout the 1964 season. His batting average dropped to .293 that season. Kaline tried to ignore the pain, but he saw physicians who thought he was suffering from gout and administered injections.
Still in pain the following season, Kaline saw an orthopedic surgeon who prescribed corrective shoes. "I feel so much better than I did before, that it's ridiculous", Kaline said by June 1965. Sportswriter Milton Gross described Kaline's deformed foot, saying, "The pinky and middle finger don't touch the ground. The fourth toe is stretched. The second and third are shortened. The first and third toes overlap the second and the fourth is beginning to overlap the big toe, which has begun to bend to the left. It is hard to believe, but for all of his career with the Tigers while he has been called the perfect player, Kaline has bordered on being a cripple."
In the summer of 1967, the normally calm Kaline broke a bone in his hand when he struck a baseball bat against a bat rack. Kaline missed a month of play. When he returned, the Tigers were in a four-team pennant race, but the team finished a game out of first place. Kaline missed two months of the 1968 season with a broken arm, but he returned to the lineup when Tiger manager Mayo Smith benched shortstop Ray Oyler and sent center fielder Mickey Stanley to play shortstop to make room for Kaline in the outfield. ESPN later called Smith's move one of the ten greatest coaching decisions of the century. In the 1968 World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals won three of the first four games of the series and were leading Game 5 by a score of 3–2 in the seventh inning, when Kaline hit a bases loaded single to drive in two runs. The Tigers won that game, and the two games following it, for their first world championship since 1945. In his only World Series appearance, Kaline hit .379 with two home runs and eight RBI in seven games. For their victory, Kaline and his teammates each received bonus checks of $10,000 (at a time when Kaline's salary was "about 70,000").
In 1970 Kaline was nearly a victim of a freak accident on the baseball field. On May 30, 1970, in a game at Milwaukee's County Stadium, Kaline collided with center fielder Jim Northrup as they both pursued a flyball. Kaline fell to the warning track injured. Alertly, left fielder Willie Horton rushed over and quickly recognized that Kaline was turning blue. Horton reached in and cleared Kaline's airway, saving his life.
After hitting .294 in 1971, Kaline became the first Tiger to sign a $100,000 ($618,652 in today's dollars) contract. He had turned down a pay raise from $95,000 to $100,000 the previous year, saying he did not feel like he deserved it after hitting .278 with 21 home runs in 1970. Detroit contended all season for the 1972 pennant, trailing the Red Sox by a half-game before a series against them to end the regular season. Kaline batted eight times in two games, registering five hits and three runs scored. Detroit won those first two games and clinched the AL East pennant. They lost the ALCS to the Oakland Athletics that year after Reggie Jackson stole home in the final game of the series. In March 1973, Kaline won the Roberto Clemente Award in recognition of the honor he brought to baseball on and off the field.
On September 24, 1974, Kaline became the 12th player in MLB history to reach the 3000 hit plateau, when he hit a double off the Orioles' Dave McNally. After reaching the milestone, he announced that he would retire. "I'm glad it's over. I really am. I don't think I'll miss it. I may miss spring training", Kaline said after his last game on October 3. He finished his career with 3,007 hits (25th on the all-time list), 399 home runs (a Tigers record and 43rd on the all-time list), 1,622 runs scored, and 1,582 RBIs. He batted over .300 nine times in his career to finish with a lifetime batting average of .297 and hit 25 or more home runs seven times in his career. He also holds Tiger career records for games played (2,834), walks (1,277) and sacrifice flies (104).
|Al Kaline's number 6 was retired by the Detroit Tigers in 1980.|
Kaline was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980, becoming the tenth player in history to be inducted in his first year of eligibility. Kaline was named on 340 of the 385 ballots (88.3%) cast by sportswriters. Kaline and Duke Snider were the only candidates elected by the sportswriters in 1980. Kaline later said, "I really never thought I would choose an individual thing that happened just to me over a team thing like the World Series. But I would have to say this is the biggest thing that has ever happened to me.
Kaline was honored by the Tigers as the first of their players to have his uniform number (6) retired. Versatile and well-rounded, he won ten Gold Glove Awards (1957–59 and 1961–67) for excellence in the field and appeared in the All-Star game for fifteen seasons (1955–67, 1971, 1974). In 1998, 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.
Cherry Street, which ran behind the left-field stands at Tiger Stadium, was renamed Kaline Drive in his honor. Later that year, on September 27, 1999, when the team played its last game at Tiger Stadium against the Kansas City Royals, 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.
Kaline was regarded as a well-rounded player by his contemporaries. Baltimore Orioles third baseman Brooks Robinson said of him, "There have been a lot of great defensive players. The fella who could do everything is Al Kaline. He was just the epitome of what a great outfielder is all about – great speed, catches the ball and throws the ball well." Manager Billy Martin once said, "I have always referred to Al Kaline as 'Mister Perfection'. He does it all – hitting, fielding, running, throwing – and he does it with that extra touch of brilliancy that marks him as a super ballplayer... Al fits in anywhere, at any position in the lineup and any spot in the batting order."
After his playing career, Kaline lived in the Detroit area, and he 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 and fellow Hall of Famer George Kell, and then later as a consultant to the team. Since 2003, Kaline has served as a special assistant to Tigers President/CEO/General Manager Dave Dombrowski, and his duties include coaching/mentoring outfielders during spring training. 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. The 2016 campaign marked Kaline's 64th season with the Tigers as a player, broadcaster or front-office official, one of the longest tenures with one MLB club of anyone in history.
Because of his lengthy career and longtime association with the Tigers organization, Kaline's nickname is "Mr. Tiger." Kaline's grandson Colin Kaline was selected by the Tigers in the 25th round of the 2007 MLB draft. He did not sign, choosing to play baseball at Florida Southern College. The team drafted him again in the 2011 MLB draft, this time in the 26th round. He played in the low minor leagues with the Detroit organization in 2011–12.
Kaline married his high school sweetheart, the former Madge Louise Hamilton, in 1954. He has two sons, Mark Albert Kaline (b. August 21, 1957) and Michael Keith Kaline (b. 1962). Michael played college baseball at Miami University of Ohio and is the father of Colin Kaline, who enjoyed a short Minor League career and is currently a college coach.
Hawkins, Jim (2010). Al Kaline: The Biography of a Tigers Icon. Triumph Books.
The 1953 Detroit Tigers season was a season in American baseball. The team finished sixth in the American League with a record of 60–94, 40½ games behind the New York Yankees.1954 Detroit Tigers season
The 1954 Detroit Tigers season was a season in American baseball. The team finished fifth in the American League with a record of 68–86, 43 games behind the Cleveland Indians.1957 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1957 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 24th playing of the midseason exhibition baseball game between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 9, 1957, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, the home of the St. Louis Cardinals of the National League. The game was marked by controversy surrounding Cincinnati Redlegs fans stuffing the ballot box and electing all but one of their starting position players to the game. The game resulted in the American League defeating the National League 6–5.1959 Major League Baseball All-Star Game (first game)
The 1959 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 26th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues composing Major League Baseball. The game was played on July 7, 1959, at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates of the NL. The game resulted in a 5–4 victory for the National League. An unprecedented second game was scheduled for later in the season in Los Angeles, California.1961 Detroit Tigers season
The 1961 Detroit Tigers won 101 games but finished in second place, eight games behind the Yankees. The team's 1961 record tied the 1934 Tigers team record of 101 wins, and only twice in team history have the Tigers won more games: 1968 (103 wins) and 1984 (104 wins).1968 Detroit Tigers season
The 1968 Detroit Tigers won the 1968 World Series, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals four games to three. The 1968 baseball season, known as the "Year of the Pitcher", was the Detroit Tigers' 68th since they entered the American League in 1901, their eighth pennant, and third World Series championship. Detroit pitcher Denny McLain won the Cy Young Award and was named the American League's Most Valuable Player after winning 31 games. Mickey Lolich pitched three complete games in the World Series – and won all three – to win World Series MVP honors.1968 World Series
The 1968 World Series featured the American League champion Detroit Tigers against the National League champion (and defending World Series champion) St. Louis Cardinals, with the Tigers winning in seven games for their first championship since 1945, and the third in their history.
The Tigers came back from a 3–1 deficit to win three in a row, largely on the arm of MVP Mickey Lolich, who as of 2019 remains the last pitcher to earn three complete-game victories in a single World Series. (The three World Series wins were duplicated by Randy Johnson in 2001, but Johnson started only two of his games.) In his third appearance in the Series, Lolich had to pitch after only two days' rest in the deciding Game 7, because regular-season 31-game winner Denny McLain was moved up to Game 6 – also on two days' rest. In Game 5, the Tigers' hopes for the title would have been very much in jeopardy had Bill Freehan not tagged out Lou Brock in a home plate collision, on a perfect throw from left fielder Willie Horton, when Brock elected not to slide and went in standing up.
The 1968 season was tagged "The Year of the Pitcher", and the Series featured dominant performances from Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson, MVP of the 1964 and 1967 World Series. Gibson came into the World Series with a regular-season earned run average (ERA) of just 1.12, a modern era record, and he pitched complete games in Games 1, 4, and 7. He was the winning pitcher in Games 1 and 4. In Game 1, he threw a shutout, striking out a Series record of 17 batters, besting Sandy Koufax's 1963 record by two. The 17 strikeouts still stands as the World Series record today. In Game 4, a solo home run by Jim Northrup was the only offense the Tigers were able to muster, as Gibson struck out ten batters. In Game 7, Gibson was defeated by series MVP Lolich, allowing three runs on four straight hits in the decisive seventh inning, although the key play was a Northrup triple that was seemingly misplayed by center fielder Curt Flood and could have been the third out with no runs scoring.
The World Series saw the Cardinals lose a Game 7 for the first time in their history. The Tigers were the third team to come back from a three-games-to-one deficit to win a best-of-seven World Series, the first two being the 1925 Pirates and the 1958 Yankees. Since then, the 1979 Pirates, the 1985 Royals, and the 2016 Cubs accomplished this feat.
Detroit manager Mayo Smith received some notoriety for moving outfielder Mickey Stanley to shortstop for the 1968 World Series, which has been called one of the gutsiest coaching moves in sports history by multiple sources. Stanley, who replaced the superior fielding but much weaker hitting Ray Oyler, would make two errors in the Series, neither of which led to a run.
This was also the final World Series played prior to Major League Baseball's 1969 expansion, which coincided with the introduction of divisional play and the League Championship Series.
All seven games of NBC's TV coverage were preserved on black-and-white kinescopes by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and circulate among collectors. Games 1 and 5 have been commercially released; these broadcasts, and that of Game 7, were frequently shown on CSN (Classic Sports Network) and ESPN Classic in the 1990s and 2000s.1971 Detroit Tigers season
The 1971 Detroit Tigers finished in second place in the American League East with a 91–71 record, 12 games behind the Orioles. They outscored their opponents 701 to 645. They drew 1,591,073 fans to Tiger Stadium, the second highest attendance in the American League.1972 Detroit Tigers season
The 1972 Detroit Tigers won the American League East division championship with a record of 86–70 (.551), finishing one-half game ahead of the Boston Red Sox. They played one more game than the Red Sox due to a scheduling quirk caused by the 1972 Major League Baseball strike—a game which turned out to allow them to win the division. They lost the 1972 American League Championship Series to the Oakland A's three games to two.1973 Detroit Tigers season
The 1973 Detroit Tigers compiled a record of 85–77. They finished in 3rd place in the AL East, 12 games behind the Baltimore Orioles. They were outscored by their opponents 674 to 642.1974 Detroit Tigers season
The 1974 Detroit Tigers compiled a record of 72–90. They finished in last place in the American League East, 19 games behind the Baltimore Orioles. They were outscored by their opponents 768 to 620.1980 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting
Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1980 followed the system in place since 1978.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and
elected Al Kaline and Duke Snider.
The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider older major league players as well as managers, umpires, executives, and figures from the Negro Leagues.
It selected Chuck Klein and Tom Yawkey.Detroit Tigers award winners and league leaders
This is a list of award winners and league leaders for the Detroit Tigers professional baseball team.Don Lund
Donald Andrew Lund (May 18, 1923 – December 10, 2013) was an American professional baseball outfielder who played in Major League Baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1945, 1947–1948), St. Louis Browns (1948) and Detroit Tigers (1949, 1952–1954). He batted and threw right-handed.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Lund graduated from Detroit Southeastern High School and then attended the University of Michigan where he lettered in baseball, football and basketball. He was signed out of the University of Michigan by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945. Although drafted in the 1st round of the NFL draft in 1945 by the Chicago Bears as a running back, Lund felt baseball would be the better career choice. Used mainly as a reserve, he played part of three seasons with the Dodgers and St. Louis Browns between 1945 and 1948. His most productive season came in 1953 as the regular right fielder for the Detroit Tigers, when he posted career-highs in batting average (.257), home runs (nine), runs batted in (47), hits (108), at-bats (421), doubles (21), triples (four), and games played (131). On June 18, 1953, Lund made the final put-out in right field when Boston scored an MLB record 17 runs against the Tigers in one inning. He played his last season in 1954 as a backup for teenager rookie Al Kaline.
In a seven-season career, Lund was a .240 hitter with 15 home runs and 86 RBI in 281 games.Following his major league career, Lund served as head baseball coach at the University of Michigan. Under his leadership, the Wolverines won the College World Series in 1962. He also coached for the Tigers and was director of their farm system from 1963 through 1970.Lund was inducted into the Michigan Hall of Honor in 1984 for his significant contributions as a football, baseball, and basketball player and baseball coach as well. Lund was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.In 2009, James Robert Irwin wrote a book about the life of Don Lund, "Playing Ball with Legends: The Story and the Stories of Don Lund."
He died on December 10, 2013, at the age of 90 at his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan.Jim Delsing
James Henry Delsing (November 13, 1925 – May 4, 2006) was an American Major League Baseball outfielder who is most remembered for having been the pinch runner for 3 ft 7 in (1.09 m)-tall Eddie Gaedel on August 19, 1951. His other claim-to-fame is that he was replaced as Detroit center fielder by Al Kaline.
His first professional contract was at the age of 16 in 1942 with Green Bay in the Wisconsin State League; he would spend five seasons in the minor leagues. During his career, which spanned 822 games over 10 seasons, he played for the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, St. Louis Browns (whom he was playing for when he pinch ran for Gaedel), Detroit Tigers, and Kansas City Athletics. His best year with the bat was in 1953, when he hit .288 with 11 home runs.
His career statistics include a batting average of .255, with 40 home runs and 286 runs batted in. As an outfielder, he recorded a .989 fielding percentage over 10 seasons.
After he retired he worked 30 years for the St. Louis Review. His son, Jay, is a professional golfer, and his grandson Taylor Twellman, was MVP of Major League Soccer in 2005. He was once quoted as saying, "Maris may have hit 61, but I'm the one who ran for a midget".Norm Cash
Norman Dalton Cash (November 10, 1934 – October 11, 1986) was an American Major League Baseball first baseman who spent almost his entire career with the Detroit Tigers. An outstanding power hitter, his 377 career home runs were the fourth most by an American League left-handed hitter when he retired, behind Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig; his 373 home runs with the Tigers rank second in franchise history behind his teammate Al Kaline (399). He also led the AL in assists three times and fielding percentage twice; he ranked among the all-time leaders in assists (4th, 1317) and double plays (10th, 1347) upon his retirement, and was fifth in AL history in games at first base (1943). He was known to fans and teammates during his playing days as "Stormin' Norman."Rawlings Gold Glove Award
The Rawlings Gold Glove Award, usually referred to as simply the Gold Glove, is the award given annually to the Major League Baseball players judged to have exhibited superior individual fielding performances at each fielding position in both the National League (NL) and the American League (AL), as voted by the managers and coaches in each league. It is also awarded to women fastpitch softball players in the National Pro Fastpitch as of 2016. Managers are not permitted to vote for their own players. Additionally, a sabermetric component provided by Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) accounts for approximately 25 percent of the vote. Eighteen Gold Gloves are awarded each year (with the exception of 1957, 1985, 2007, and 2018), one at each of the nine positions in each league. In 1957, the baseball glove manufacturer Rawlings created the Gold Glove Award to commemorate the best fielding performance at each position. The award was created from a glove made from gold lamé-tanned leather and affixed to a walnut base. Initially, only one Gold Glove per position was awarded to the top fielder at each position in Major League Baseball; however, separate awards were given for the National and American Leagues beginning in 1958.Youse's Maryland Orioles
Youse's Maryland Orioles are a collegiate summer baseball team based in Linthicum, Maryland. Most of its players are drawn from the college ranks. The team is a member of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League (CRSCBL). The Maryland Orioles play their weekday home games at Bachman Park and weekend games at Calvert Hall High School. Since its founding in 1952, the team has sent at least 48 players to the Major Leagues, including Hall of Famers Al Kaline and Reggie Jackson.
Italics denotes active player
|J. G. Taylor Spink Award|
|Ford C. Frick Award|
Italics denotes players who have been voted in but not yet inducted.
|Minor league affiliates|
|American League pennants (11)|
|Division titles (7)|
|Wild card berths (1)|