Albert William "Al" Kaline, born December 19, 1934 in Baltimore, Maryland) is a former Major League Baseball player. Kaline was active from 1953 to 1974 and spent his entire career with the Detroit Tigers (hence the nickname "Mr. Tiger"), bypassing the minor league system and joining the team directly from high school as a "bonus baby" signee. For most of his career, Kaline played in the outfield, mainly right field, where he was known for his strong throwing arm. He once threw out two baserunners at home in the same inning. Near the end of his career, he also played at first base and, in his last season, was the Tigers' designated hitter. Kaline wore the #6 for his entire major league playing career.
In 1955, Kaline hit .340 for the season, becoming the youngest player ever to win the American League batting title, when he was one day younger than Tiger's hall-of-famer Ty Cobb - born December 18, 1886. During the 1955 season, Kaline became the 13th man in major league history to hit two home runs in the same inning and finished the year with 200 hits, 27 HRs and 102 RBIs to go along with the batting title. Although it would be his only batting title, in 1956 he followed that great season with another as he batted .314 with 27 HRs and 128 RBIs and became one of baseball's brightest young stars and a future hall-of-famer. In 1958, he amassed 23 assists, extremely high for an outfielder. Versatile and well-rounded, he won ten Gold Glove Awards (1957-59 and 1961-67) for excellence in the field and appeared in fifteen All-Star games (1955-67, 1971, 1974). He was a member of the World Series championship team in 1968 and excelled in his only World Series appearance by batting .379 with 2 home runs and 8 RBIs helping the Tigers come back from a 3 games to 1 deficit to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in 7 games.
Kaline finished his career with 3,007 hits (25th on the all-time list) and 399 home runs (a Tigers record and 43rd on the all-time list). He batted over .300 nine times in his career to finish with a lifetime batting average of .297 and while never considered a true power hitter, Kaline did hit 25 or more home runs seven times in his career. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980, his first year of eligibility, and subsequently honored by the Tigers as the first of their players to have his uniform number (6) retired. With earlier legend Ty Cobb having been more respected and feared than loved, Kaline is the most popular player ever to play for the Tigers, and possibly the most popular athlete in Detroit history.
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