Al Kaline, who spent 22 seasons patrolling right field for the Detroit Tigers, died Monday at his home in Michigan, a close family friend confirmed to The Detroit Free Press. A cause of death was not made immediately available. He was 85.
Kaline played his entire career with the Tigers, debuting at age 18 in 1953, shortly after he graduated high school. At age 20, he won the American League batting title. All told, Kaline won a World Series title in 1968, made 18 All Star appearances, and earned 10 gold gloves while crossing the 3,000-hit threshold en route to the Hall of Fame, which he made his first year on the ballot.
Kaline was a fan-favorite in Detroit, even picking up the nickname “Mr. Tiger,” and became the first Tiger to have his number retired. He remained involved with the ballclub long after he retired in 1974 as a broadcaster and special assistant.
He was known for his genuinely kind nature off the field, evidenced by the outpouring of support following the news of his passing. Tim O’Donnell
I loved Al Kaline, who has died at 85. A week out of high school he was in the major leagues, playing for the same team, the Detroit Tigers, his entire Hall of Fame career.
He just had a way about him. I guess it was class. pic.twitter.com/Y4GMyNc0zX
— Dan Barry (@DanBarryNYT) April 6, 2020
Al Kaline was Mr. Tiger in a sports world where no one stays around long enough to earn a Mr. title of any sort. Kaline earned his with distinction. A man of dignity, a Detroit icon.
— Bob Wojnowski (@bobwojnowski) April 6, 2020