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Al Kaline Biography - From The Sandlot To The Stadium, The Tigers On A Tear, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments

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American baseball player

Known as "Mr. Tiger," Albert William (Al) Kaline devoted his entire twenty-one year playing career (1953-1974) to the American League Detroit Tigers. Indeed, only Kaline and 1920s legend Ty Cobb played twenty or more seasons in a Detroit uniform. The Hall of Famer distinguished himself throughout his competitive years as a power hitter and gifted right-fielder. He appeared in fifteen All-Star games, won ten Gold Glove awards, and personified Tiger excellence during the 1968 World Series. On retirement, Kaline continued to serve as a television commentator for Tiger games.

Born in Baltimore to a sports-minded family, Kaline came by his baseball skills through his father and two uncles, who all played semi-pro ball. Though smaller than the typical player, the young Kaline overcame his

Al Kaline

physical shortcomings by practicing harder and longer than his teammates. His early ambition aimed Kaline not toward the plate, but the mound: "I guess all kids interested in baseball first want to be pitchers," he was quoted in a 1955 Saturday Evening Post interview. But the thin teen was not suited for hurling balls at the high-school level, and concentrated on his hitting game instead. At Baltimore's Southern High School, Kaline batted .333, .418, .469, and .488, and was named to the all-Maryland high-school team each of his academic years. Kaline's family supported his goals, driving him from league to league. Kaline grew to a slender six-foot-one; by the time he graduated from high school, the young hitter was the object of scrutiny from baseball scouts.

Sketch by Susan Salter

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