Albert William Kaline
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 180 lb.
- High School Southern High School (Baltimore)
- Debut June 25, 1953
- Final Game October 2, 1974
- Born December 19, 1934 in Baltimore, MD USA
- Died April 6, 2020 in Bloomfield Hills, MI USA
Al Kaline was a teen phenom from Baltimore, MD who became the regular right fielder for the Detroit Tigers in 1954 at age 19. He was signed by Tiger scout (later an executive) Ed Katalinas for a reported $25,000, who told the front office that he was a better player than the starting outfield they had. In 1955, he leaped into stardom, winning the batting championship, the youngest champion ever at 20, younger by one day than Ty Cobb. He played on for two decades, never winning another batting title but finishing in the top three in the American League five more times. He hit 399 home runs although he didn't think of himself as a slugger, and was honored with 10 Gold Gloves.
Though not as famous as Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle, his overall skills of batting for average, power, plus his speed and fielding ranked him second in the American League for his career, after Mantle. He had a wonderful throwing arm, best in the American League, combining power and accuracy. His Gray Ink score, a way of measuring how often a player is among the league leaders in offensive categories, is 228, well over the average Hall of Famer's score of 144. Curiously, he retired one short of 400 career homers. Unfortunately, his career batting average finally slipped under .300 at the end of his Tiger career. Kaline used the DH role in his final season to get over the 3,000 career hit mark.
On top of it all, he was a true gentleman. He won the first Roberto Clemente Award which honored his fine qualities as a human being. Later, he long served as a Tiger broadcaster, with another old Tiger hero and batting champ, George Kell. He was a Tigers broadcaster from 1976 to 2001. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on January 9, 1980 by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Some argue that he never hit 30 homers in any season; retired with less than a .300 career BA; barely failed to reach the 400 career homers mark, and tallied over 100 RBI in only 3 of his 22 seasons, so how great could he be? But that assessment completely overlooks that he played during a dead ball era when his offensive performances were quite good, and he also added numerous Gold Gloves. Therefore, he ranks #7 all-time on the JAWS list of the best right fielders - better than two-thirds of the Hall of Famers at that position. Nevertheless, he was being modest when he said:
- 15-time AL All-Star (1955-1967, 1971 & 1974)
- 10-time Gold Glove Winner (1957/ML-RF, 1958/AL-RF, 1959/AL-CF & 1961-1967/AL-OF)
- AL Batting Average Leader (1955)
- AL Slugging Percentage Leader (1959)
- AL OPS Leader (1959)
- AL Hits Leader (1955)
- AL Total Bases Leader (1955)
- AL Doubles Leader (1961)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 9 (1955-1957, 1959, 1962, 1963, 1966, 1967 & 1969)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 3 (1955, 1956 & 1963)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 2 (1955 & 1961)
- 200 Hits Seasons: 1 (1955)
- Won a World Series with the Detroit Tigers in 1968
- Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1980
- Jason Beck: "HOFer Kaline, beloved 'Mr. Tiger,' dies at 85", mlb.com, April 6, 2020. 
- Chris Haft: "10 top moments from Al Kaline's career", mlb.com, April 6, 2020. 
- Jim Hawkins: Al Kaline: The Biography of a Tigers Icon, Triumph Books, Chicago, IL, 2010.
- Al Kaline (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, May 1994, pp. 68-70. 
- Bob Kuenster: "Baseball Profile:Hall of Famer Al Kaline", Baseball Digest, February 1991, p. 67. 
- John Lowe: "Al Kaline, Detroit Tigers legend, dies at age 85", Detroit Free Press, April 6, 2020. 
- Nick Waddell: "Al Kaline", in Mark Pattison and David Raglin, ed.: Detroit Tigers 1984: What A Start! What A Finish!, SABR Publications, Phoenix, AZ, 2012, pp. 217-221. ISBN 1933599448