Al Kaline, a hall of fame outfielder who played all 22 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, died on Monday, according to ESPN. He was 85 years old. Kaline was an 18-time All-Star outfielder, and he also won 10 gold gloves. He retired from baseball shortly after getting 3,000 hits in 1974, and he then joined the Tigers broadcasting team. He continued to work for the organization until he retired in 2002.
Kaline was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and he joined the Tigers right after he finished high school. He had the support of his parents, which led to him paying off the mortgage of his parents' home when he received a signing bonus of $35,000, according to the Detroit Free Press. As Kaline said, They'd always helped me. They knew I wanted to be a major leaguer, and they did everything they could to give me time for baseball. I never had to take a paper route or work in a drugstore or anything. I just played ball."
Kaline made his major league debut in 1953, and by 1955, he became the youngest player in history to win the American League batting title. The Tigers legend came close to winning the AL MVP award, finishing second behind Yogi Berra. In 1968, Kaline helped the Tigers win the World Series. In the series, Kaline posted a .379 batting average, he hit two home run, and he drove in eight to lead the Tigers over the St. Louis Cardinals.0comments
"You almost have to watch him play every day to appreciate what he does," said veteran pitcher and former Tigers teammate Johnny Podres, per the Baseball Hall of Fame's website. "You hear about him, sure, but you really can't understand until you see him. He just never makes a mistake."
Kaline finished his career with 3,0007 hits, 399 home runs, 1,583 RBIs, and he recorded a .297 batting average. He was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980, and his No. 6 jersey was retired the same year. When he was voted into the Hall of Fame, Kaline became the 10th player ever elected in the first year of eligibility. In 1998, The Sporting News ranked Kaline No. 76 on the list of the 100 greatest baseball players.