BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. (WLNS) – Legendary Detroit Tigers right fielder Al Kaline died Monday afternoon at the age of 85.
In 22 seasons with the Tigers, the MLB Hall of Famer played in more games and hit more home runs than anyone else in club history.
The 18-year-old Kaline came to the Tigers in 1953 directly from high school, having never spent a day in the minors, and by the next season established himself as one of the game’s bright new talents. By 1955, at age 20, he became the youngest player to win a batting title when he hit .340, according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
“Mr. Tiger” was the 12th player in Major League Baseball history to reach the elite 3,000-hit club, and the second Detroit Tigers player following Ty Cobb.
On Aug. 17, 1980, the number 6 won immortality in Detroit when Kaline became the first player in Tigers history to have his number retired. 1980 was the same year he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The city of Detroit also honored Kaline, announcing when he signed his contract in 1970 that Aug. 2 would be known as “Al Kaline Day.”
“I owe everything to baseball,” Kaline said, according to the Baseball Hall of Fame. “Without it, I’d probably be a bum.”
A cause of death was not immediately available. John Morad, a close friend of the family, confirmed the news to the Detroit Free Press after speaking with Kaline’s youngest son, Mike.