Detroit Tigers News

Al Kaline, former Detroit Tigers superstar, dies at 85

jmarkle
LAKELAND, FL - FEBRUARY 26: Former Detroit Tigers outfielder and Baseball Hall-of-Famer Al Kaline watches practice during Spring Training workouts at the TigerTown facility on February 26, 2015 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
LAKELAND, FL - FEBRUARY 26: Former Detroit Tigers outfielder and Baseball Hall-of-Famer Al Kaline watches practice during Spring Training workouts at the TigerTown facility on February 26, 2015 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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The legendary Tigers right fielder passed away.

It was announced on Monday afternoon that Al Kaline has died. He passed away in his home in Bloomfield Hills at 85 years of age. The cause of death has not yet been made public.

A right fielder, Kaline spent the entirety of his MLB career with the Detroit Tigers from his debut in 193 until his retirement after the 1974 season. He signed his first contract with the team for a mere $35,000, but became one of the greatest to ever suit up wearing the Olde English D.

Yes, Kaline was a force of nature on the field. Accumulating impressive career totals in every imaginable metric, his was a career that impresses both old and new school analysts. Longevity and consistency were hallmarks of his time as a ballplayer, playing less than 100 games only once in the 20 full seasons he played as a major leaguer. What’s more, in only two of those 20 seasons was he not an above-average batter and he never once fell short of replacement value.

He topped 3,000 hits, fell one home run short of 400, and walked more often than he struck out in his career. At 88.9 career fWAR, Kaline could be justifiably mentioned in the same breath as some of the best to ever play the game, beating out such hallmark players as Chipper Jones, Pete Rose, and Joe DiMaggio, and Ken Griffey Jr. in that category. An obvious choice for Hall of Fame candidacy, and was enshrined in Cooperstown on his first ballot – a rare accomplishment that he accepted with grace and humility.

“You know, I’ve been very lucky. In fact, sometimes I feel I’ve been one of the luckiest people in the world,” he said in his Hall of Fame induction speech. Those words ring a little different now, as we say goodbye to him for good.

His legendary career earned him the moniker of “Mr. Tiger,” and he embodied a great era in Detroit baseball that included a World Series win in 1968. Kaline will be affectionately remembered among Tigers fans as not only a dynamic ballplayer, but also as a kind and refreshing soul in the often unforgiving world of sports.

Sleep easy, old friend. You will be missed.

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