Detroit Tigers All-Time All-Stars
May 25, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers former player Al Kaline speaks during a ceremony to honor the 1968 world series team before the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
No Detroit Tigers historical list could ever be complete without “Mr. Tiger.” There are perhaps just two faces on the Tigers’ Mt. Rushmore–Ty Cobb and Al Kaline.
After coming to the Detroit Tigers in 1953, just months after his high school graduation, Al really came into his own in 1955, posting a league leading 200 hits and .340 average, finishing second to Yogi Berra for the AL MVP. This was also the season in which Kaline began his long 13-year All-Star streak (18 appearances in all).
The Tigers were a lousy franchise during the 1950’s, but Kaline kept fans coming to Briggs Stadium. Not only did he hit for power and average, he rarely struck out.
As great as he was at the plate, he may have been even better defensively. A ten-time Gold Glove winner, Al Kaline had one of the best arms of any right fielder in baseball history. Not only was he accurate with his throw, he had a precise system for positioning himself properly to get the most out of his cannon arm.
On Sept. 24, 1974, just about a week before his final game, Al reached the 3,000-hit plateau (the last Tiger to do so) in his hometown of Baltimore. He finished with 3,007 hits, a .297 average, 399 homers, and 1,583 RBIs. Al Kaline was elected to the Hall-of-Fame on his first ballot with 88.3 percent of the vote in 1980 and was the first Tiger to have his number retired by the franchise. As great of a player as he was, imagine if he could have stayed healthy.
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