MLB Hall-of-Fame member Al Kaline, known as "Mr. Tiger," passed away on Monday, April 6, 2020, at 85 years of age.
The Detroit Tigers' official Twitter feed shared the news of Al Kaline's passing, and noted that Kaline will be "Always in our hearts."
Al wasn't just affectionately known as "Mr. Tiger" but was called that being one of the few to devote an entire career with the same club. In Kaline's case, his was a career that spanned 22 years with the Detroit Tigers.
Per Baseball Reference, Kaline embarked on his Major League career on June 25, 1953 and played until 1974 with the Tigers. In his storied and Hall-of-Fame career Kaline was an All-Star an amazing 18 times, was in the top 10 MVP voting nine times, and managed to win 10 Gold Gloves in that span. Additionally, Kaline had 3,007 hits, 399 homers, and finished with a slash line of .297/.376/.480 and an OPS of .855. That is a model of consistency over such an extensive career.
Among Al's other accolades he won the 1955 AL batting title, a Lou Gehrig Award in 1968, the Hutch Award in 1969, and the Roberto Clemente Award in 1973. Al was a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer in 1980 and the Detroit Tigers had his No. 6 retired.
Future Hall-of-Famer Justin Verlander shared his thoughts about Al Kaline on social media.
Over the years, many fans and ball players came to know Al Kaline well. Al's career and connection to the Detroit Tigers didn't end when his playing career ended. Kaline went on to a career as a broadcaster for the Tigers, and was instrumental in working with many young players coming up through the Tigers' system.
In 2001, after more than 25 years in the broadcast booth, Al took on the role of Special Assistant to the GM, but continued to be instrumental in helping to dispense advice and develop young players. Kaline was always at Spring Training.
Unquestionably, fans of the Detroit Tigers will miss this wonderful player, broadcaster, coach, and human being, but fans of baseball everywhere will mourn his passing. Rest in peace, Al Kaline. Indeed, you will always be in our hearts.