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Former baseball star, Al Kaline, also known as Mr. Tiger, was born on December 19, 1934 in Baltimore, Maryland. Kaline was active from 1953 to 1974 and spent his entire career with the Detroit Tigers (hence the nickname "Mr. Tiger").
Kaline bypassed the minor league system by joining the team directly from Baltimore's Southern High School as an 18-year old "bonus baby" signee, receiving $35,000 to sign with the Tigers. For most of his career, Kaline played in the outfield, mainly as a right fielder, 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 as first baseman 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 Tigers 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. 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 Detroit's World Series championship team in 1968 and excelled in his only World Series appearance by batting .379 with two home runs and eight RBIs, helping the Tigers come back from a 3–1 games deficit to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.
In 1957 Al 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.
Since retiring from the playing field, Al Kaline has lived in the Detroit area, and has remained active within the Tigers organization, serving first as a color commentator on the team's television broadcasts (1975-2002) mostly with play by play announcer and former Tiger George Kell, and then later as a consultant to the team. Cherry Street, which ran behind the left-field stands at Tiger Stadium, was renamed Kaline Drive in his honor.
In 1999, he ranked Number 76 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.
Since 2003, Kaline has served as a Special Assistant to Tigers President/CEO/General Manager Dave Dombrowski. Former Tigers teammate Willie Horton also holds this position, and the two threw out the first pitch of the 2006 World Series at Comerica Park.
Al Kaline is an active golfer, playing multiple times per week. On May 24, 2008, Al Kaline had a hole-in-one at Oakland Hills Country Club.