Al Kaline remembered for talent, graciousness
In fact, just after midnight on June 19, 1953 – the night of his high school graduation – Kaline was signed by Detroit scout Ed Katalinas and joined the Tigers directly.
Kaline debuted six days later on June 25 as a defensive replacement, and recorded the first of his 3,007 big league hits on July 8.
Kaline, who passed away on April 6, 2020, at the age of 85, was only 18 years old when he entered the major leagues. But he was ready for the challenge.
Kaline was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year eligible in 1980. Detroit subsequently retired his No. 6, the first number retired by the organization.
“Al Kaline brought such dignity and grace to our game, and to the Hall of Fame," said Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman of the Board of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. "As one of baseball's greatest right fielders, every new generation of Hall of Fame Members were in awe of Al, not only as the player he was, but also as the true gentleman that he was. He will be missed throughout the game – and honored forever at the Hall of Fame. We join the Detroit Tigers and the entire baseball community in mourning the passing of a true legend, and we extend our deepest sympathies to the Kaline family.”