Al Kaline, 'Mr. Tiger,' dies at 85
Baseball Hall of Famer Al Kaline died Monday afternoon at his home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. The cause of death is not yet known.
Kaline, known affectionately as "Mr. Tiger," spent his entire 22-year career with the Detroit Tigers, first debuting in 1953 as an 18-year-old. He owns a host of franchise records, including most games played (2,834) and home runs (399).
"It's with a heavy heart that the Detroit Tigers confirm Al Kaline has passed away at the age of 85," the franchise said in a statement.
"As a young player with the Tigers, I came to understand the depth of Al Kaline's connection to the baseball community and the city of Detroit," MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said in a release. "He set a standard of excellence with his achievements on the field. But those of us who considered him a mentor will remember him equally for his class, humility, and generosity of spirit.
"The MLBPA extends its sympathies to Al's family, the Tigers organization, and all of those whose lives he touched as a Hall of Fame player and ambassador for the game."
Star pitcher Justin Verlander, who spent the first 13 years of his career with the Tigers, sent out condolences while speaking to his relationship with the franchise icon.
Kaline's No. 6 is one of nine numbers retired by the Tigers, including Jackie Robinson's No. 42.
The 18-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner was inducted into Cooperstown in 1980.
Kaline is one of 32 MLB players who've reached the 3,000-hit plateau. After collecting his 3,007th career hit in 1974, he retired to become the Tigers' color commentator the next season.
Then in 2002, former team president Dave Dombrowski hired Kaline as a special assistant to the general manager - a position the Hall of Famer held until his death. Kaline's 67-year tenure with one team was one of the longest in MLB history.
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