Thursday, March 18, 2010
Al Kaline is the Nitty Gritty Card of the Day
Today’s Nitty Gritty Card of the Day is from the 1964 Topps Giants set, card #12 of Detroit Tigers Hall of Famer Al Kaline. I love a player with a great nickname and Kaline had a very appropriate one, he was known as Mr. Tiger. From the day he signed as a bonus baby in 1953 to the day he retired in 1974 he ONLY wore a Detroit Tigers uniform. He never spent a day in the minor leagues, he went right to the majors as an 18-year-old rookie and by the time he was 20-years-old he was a major league superstar. He won his first and only batting title at 20 years of age in 1955 when he batted .340 with 200 hits, 27 homers, 102 RBIs and 121 runs scored. He finished second in the AL MVP vote behind Yogi Berra (who batted 68 points lower, but did it behind the plate) and established himself as a superstar. He played in his first of 18 All Star Games and had 14 assists from right field. He didn’t win his first Gold Glove Award until 1957 and he would win 10 of those awards over his career. He never won another batting title, but he finished in batting average 3 times and posted a .297 career batting average with 3007 hits. The back of this card from 1964 states “One of Al’s biggest ambitions is to lead the Tigers to a pennant and play in a World Series”. He and his Tigers did just that 4 years later when they won the World Series in 1968 behind his .379 average, 2 homers and 8 RBI against the Cardinals. That was the final piece missing from the legend that is Mr. Tiger, Al Kaline. The true final piece came in 1980 when he was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. In 5 days there will be a contest on the Nitty Gritty’s brother blog, the Collective Troll which will feature an Al Kaline certified autograph as a prize. Thanks for checking out the biggest card I own of Mr. Tiger, Al Kaline. Statistics from Kaline’s remarkable 22 year career can be viewed HERE. 46 years, LATER!