No. 6: Al "Mr. Tiger" Kaline
June 28, 2012
Albert William (Al) Kaline was born December 19, 1934 in Baltimore, Maryland. His parents, Nicholas and Clara Kaline, had three children: Margaret (Kaline) Vracar, Caroline (Kaline) Montgomery, and Albert. Nicholas H. Kaline, Al’s father, was a broom-maker who never made more than a modest income but had a passion for baseball. In fact, he was an old semi-pro catcher himself. When young Al showed an interest in playing baseball, his father worked with him to develop his arm.
Al Kaline bypassed the minor leagues and went to play for the Detroit Tigers straight out of high school. He played his entire 22-year career with the Detroit Tigers as a right-fielder and later as first baseman. He was active from 1953-1974, earning him the nickname "Mr. Tiger." In 1955, Kaline hit .340 for the season, becoming the youngest player ever to win the American League batting title. He later worked as a Tigers' TV color commentator until 2002.
Al Kaline was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980. That same year, Kaline’s uniform (No. 6) was retired by the Tigers. He was the first Tigers player to receive this honor. In 1999, he ranked Number 76 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.
Midwest Genealogy Center