30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Friday, September 25, 2015

Baseball Digest Inspired PC

Sixty years ago on September 25th, 1955... Al Kaline became the youngest player in MLB history to win a batting title.  Up until a few years ago, I knew very little about Mr. Tiger and his accomplishments.  Then in 2013, I read a great article in Baseball Digest about his career and was instantly inspired to pick up an autograph for my collection.  I ended up with thirteen.

On the anniversary of his special day, I figured I'd show them off and share some facts I learned from that article.

2005 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures #AK

#1:  Kaline made his MLB debut at the age of eighteen just a few days after graduating from high school.

2009 Sweet Spot Signatures Classic #AK

#2:  He spent his entire twenty-two season career with the Detroit Tigers.

2003 Diamond Kings Recollection Autographs #40

#3:  Bob Feller, Mel Ott, and Jim Hunter are the only other players in MLB history to be enshrined in Cooperstown without spending a day in the minor leagues.

2009 UD Goudey Sport Royalty Autographs #AK

#4:  Due to his height, his father who was a horse racing enthusiast considered having Kaline become a jockey.

2013 Topps Five Star Autographs #AK

#5:  Charlie Gehringer once coached Kaline when he was a kid and recommended him to the Tigers before becoming their general manager the following year.

2007 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures #AK

#6:  In 1951 he attended his first MLB game with his all-star team and was given the opportunity to walk through the New York Yankees locker room.  The highlight?  Seeing Joe DiMaggio.

2002 Topps Team Legends Autographs #AK

#7:  The day after he graduated high school, he passed up fourteen other big league clubs and signed with the Detroit Tigers.  He received a $15,000 bonus and $6,000/year for the next two years.

1998 Donruss Significant Signatures #ALKA

#8:  On September 16th, 1953... Kaline made his first MLB start against the Boston Red Sox.  Before the game, Detroit's manager Fred Hutchinson took him into the Red Sox dugout to meet Ted Williams.  The Splendid Splinter hung out and gave him a bunch of advice.  It paid off.  That day... he went out there and hit three singles, scored a run, and drove in another run.

2002 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures #AK

#9:  On July 7th, 1954... the Detroit Tigers hosted the Chicago White Sox.  That day Kaline threw out Fred Marsh at home plate from right field.  The next inning, he threw out Jim Rivera at third base.  And the inning after that he did it again.  This time Minnie Minosa was the victim.

2012 Topps Five Star Retired Autographs #AK

#10:  In 1955... Kaline started his batting title campaign with a fourteen game hitting streak.  In the home opener, he hit two triples.  A few days later he hit three home runs... two of which came in one inning.

2014 Tier One Acclaimed Autographs #AKL

#11:  He never won another batting title, but later in his career he helped the Tigers win a World Series title in 1968.

2014 Tier One Acclaimed Autographs #AKA

#12:  Kaline retired after the 1974 season and became a first ballot hall of famer in 1980.

2004 Donruss Leather and Lumber Cuts #LC2

#13:  He's still the Detroit Tigers' all-time leader in games played, base on balls, and home runs.  And if it weren't for some guy named Tyrus Raymond Cobb, Mr. Tiger would hold just about every important hitting record in franchise history.

Thank you Baseball Digest.  This wasn't the first time you guys inspired me to purchase a player's autograph.  And it definitely won't be the last.

Happy Friday and sayonara!


  1. Whoa, dude--that's an absolutely stunning collection! You know I'm jealous.

  2. That's an impressive group. Now let's see your 13 Cobb autograph's.

  3. He finish with 399 hr and 3000 hits. After everyone made a big deal out of Yaz becoming the first 400-3000 ALer, Kaline said in 1980, he would have come back in 1975 to accomplish the feat.

  4. A great fielder too,10 Golden Glove Awards.

  5. Great collection of Kalines! I have a soft spot for him as he's a native of Baltimore.

  6. It's strange to think that Kaline never won a batting title. Kind of like how Nolan Ryan never won a Cy Young, I guess. Great cards!!

  7. Great collection and great facts about a great player!

  8. Great to see ya at the show today-what a great Kaline collection-enough to make any Tigers' fan jealous.

  9. What an impressive collection! Nice job, Fuji!

  10. Thanks guys. Kind of got obsessed with collecting him... but now he's officially been shelved.

    Dennis - You were the first blogger I thought of when I started picking up his cards. Wondered if we ever competed against each other on eBay.

    Jon - I'd be happy with one... but even that's a stretch.

    Anonymous - Yeah. Would have been cool to get that #400

    sg488 - I dropped the ball. Should have added that... but surprisingly, I don't think it was mentioned in the article (could be wrong, I'd have to go back and check).

    Commish - The article mentioned that he went to high school there.

    Nick - Nolan not winning a Cy Young is crazy. I guess leading the league in ERA and strikeouts doesn't overcome the number of losses on subpar teams. Kinda sad.

    Daniel - Thanks

    B - It was great seeing you again. I ended up heading down to Craig's table and picked up a ton of cards from the guy behind him. Even found a few Cardinals for you ;)

    Drew - Thanks