Tigers Legend, Hall of Famer Al Kaline Dies at 85

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2020

Al Kaline, outfielder for the Detroit Tigers, poses during spring training in Tampa, Fla., 1974.  (AP Photo)
Associated Press

MLB Hall of Famer Al Kaline died Monday afternoon in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, according to John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press. He was 85. 

Lowe wrote, "John Morad, a close friend of the family, confirmed the news to the Free Press after speaking with Kaline's youngest son, Mike."

Kaline spent his entire 22-year career (1953-74) with the Detroit Tigers, hitting .297 with 399 homers, 1,582 RBI, 1,622 runs, 3,007 hits and a career .855 OPS. He was an 18-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove winner, won the 1955 battling title and a World Series title in 1968.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980.

MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark issued a statement on Kaline:

A number of current and former players paid tribute to the legendary outfielder and first baseman after learning of his death:

"There have been a lot of great defensive players," fellow Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson once said of Kaline, per Joe Posnanski of The Athletic. "The fella who could do everything is Al Kaline."

Robinson was a great fan of Kaline.

"When you talk about all-around ballplayers, I'd say Kaline is the best I ever played against. And he's a super nice guy, too," he said in Kaline's last season, per Lowe. "There aren't too many guys who are good ballplayers and nice guys, too. Your attitude determines how good you're going to be—in life as well as in baseball. He's got a great attitude."

After his playing career, Kaline spent time as an announcer and team consultant, and he was often around the team at spring training and other events. 

"To this day,  I can't believe the life I've had," Kaline said on his 80th birthday, per ESPN. "I wanted to be a baseball player—and do the one thing I was good at. Even now, I love it so much."