Historic Baseball

Historic Baseball

Bringing Baseball History To Center Field

Al KalineAlbert William KalineBorn: Dec. 19, 1934 in Baltimore, Md. Debut: 1953 | Pos: OFHt: 6’2″ | Wt: 180 | B: R | T: RYrs G AB Hits HR RBI SB Avg22 2834 10116 3007 399 1583 137 .297>> Visit the Al Kaline biography on Baseball Almanac for complete statistics. Hall of Famer Al Kaline is one of two players � the other being Ty Cobb � to have worn the Detroit Tigers uniform for 22 seasons. His career accomplishments include 399 home runs (the most ever for a Detroit Player), 18 All-Star game appearances, 10 gold gloves and a streak of 242 consecutive games without an error. He finished second twice in AL MVP voting � 1955 and 1963. There were eight seasons when he hit .300 or better and nine seasons when he hit 20 or more home runs. In 1980, he was elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Kaline’s playing career got its start in 1953 when he was just 18 years old. He went straight to the majors without ever playing a minor league game. On June 25, he entered his first major league game as a defensive replacement. He popped up in his only at-bat and let a ball get by him that led to a loss for the Tigers. In his first full season in the majors, at just 19, he hit .276 and a year later, in 1955, he won the AL batting title by hitting .340. He was just 20 years old and beat Ty Cobb by a single day to become the youngest person to ever lead the AL in batting. In 1959, Tigers teammate Harvey Kuenn and Kaline finished 1-2 in the batting race, becoming the 7th pair of teammates to accomplish the feat. In 1962, Kaline was putting up strong numbers until he dove to make a game-ending catch on May 26 at Yankee Stadium and broke his collarbone. He missed nearly two months, but still hit 29 home runs, his career high, and drove in 94 runs in 398 at-bats. After seasons of 17 and 18 home runs in 1964 and 1965, Kaline tied his career high in 1966 with 29. He followed that up with a torrid start to the 1967 season, but he broke his hand and missed a month of the season. The Tigers lost the pennant on the last day of the season to the Red Sox. In 1968, the Tigers won the pennant, beating Baltimore by 12 games. Kaline was hit by a pitch in May and broke his arm. He was out for a month and did not hit well after he returned. He found himself playing only part-time over the rest of the season. Tigers manager Mayo Smith used centerfielder Mickey Stanley at shortstop during the series and opened up a slot for Kaline in the outfield. Kaline hit .379 with 2 home runs and led all players with 8 RBIs. His performances began to drop off over the next few seasons and, in 1974, he became Detroit’s designated hitter. Fans weren’t completely happy with the move, but Kaline hit .262 with 13 HRs, 64 RBIS and on Sept. 24, his double off Dave McNally gave him his 3000th career hit. On Sept. 24, 1974, Kaline collected his 3,000th hit off Dave McNally of the Baltimore Orioles. He was the first Tigers player to reach 3,000 hits since Ty Cobb accomplished the feat in 1921. In 1976, two years after he retired from playing, he began a second career in broadcasting and worked with George Kell, also a Hall of Famer, on TV broadcasts. He shared the broadcast booth with another Hall-of-Famer in Ernie Harwell during part of the 2001 season. In 2001, Kaline was named Special Assistant to the President. The Tigers retired his No. 6 in August 1980. Sources: Detroit Tigers Media Guide, The New Biographical History of Baseball, Baseball: The Biographical Encyclopedia