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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:

MLBPA Communications @MLBPA_News

Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark issued the following statement on the passing of Al Kaline: https://t.co/faL1TCIy6k https://t.co/VIPfkRGqmW

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

Justin Verlander @JustinVerlander

Such a kind and generous man who meant so much to so many. I hope you knew how much I enjoyed our conversations about baseball, life, or just giving each other a hard time. I am honored to have been able to call you my friend for all these years. R.I.P. Mr Tiger, Al Kaline.

Alex Bregman @ABREG_1

Rest In Peace Al Kaline. Was fortunate enough to meet him this Spring Training. Unbelievable man.

Wade Boggs @ChickenMan3010

Sad to hear we’ve lost a beloved member of our HOF family one of the nicest and sincere I’ve ever met Al Kaline you will be dearly missed my friend thoughts and prayers go out Louise and family RIP Al 🙏

Mark Feinsand @Feinsand

Tony Clark, who played the first seven seasons of his career with the Tigers and was an All-Star with Detroit, released the following statement on the passing of Al Kaline: https://t.co/vYULuBRFkX

Ken Singleton @29alltime

RIP Al Kaline a HOF player and a truly gracious man. #Mr.Tiger

Matthew Boyd @mattboyd48

Mr Kaline truly is one of the kindest most welcoming ppl Ive ever met. From shaking his hand the 1st day I was a tiger to seeing him every single Sunday at the park, he was always genuine. Greeting every player with kindness and a listening ear. I’m going to miss you Mr Tiger.

Grayson Greiner @ggreiner21

Rest In Peace to the legendary Al Kaline. Your stories & advice brought a smile to everybody’s face on a daily basis. You will be truly missed, and never forgotten. #MrTiger https://t.co/dVnrrX67LG

Jake Rogers @_JROG_

Al Kaline was one of the best people and players of all time! I always enjoyed our conversations and will forever cherish those! #RIPMrTiger

Craig Monroe @CMo_27

So saddened by the passing of Mr Kaline. It was truly an honor to have the opportunity to pick his brain and learn from one of the games best during my time as a Tiger. What an incredible person. #ForeverGrateful

"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."

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