al kaline
a famous son of westport

Albert William Kaline, born in Westport on December 19, 1934, was one of the few players to join a major league team right out of high school, (rather than start in the minors).  After graduating from Southern High School in 1953, Kaline joined the Detroit Tigers.  He was the youngest American Leaguer to win a batting title, which he received before turning 21.

Al Kaline grew up at 2222 Cedley Street, watching the men from the Westport Power Plant play baseball on the vacant land behind the railroad tracks near his house.  Kaline’s father Nicholas worked in the broom factory, his mother Naomi scrubbed floors.  And while their other children began to work as teenagers, Nicholas and Naomi never made Al take a job, freeing him to play baseball.  He played 22 seasons for the Detroit Tigers. 

Kaline finished his career with 3,007 hits (25th on the all-time list) and 399 home runs (a Tigers record and 43rd on the all-time list).  He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980, his first year of eligibility, and subsequently honored by the Tigers as the first of their players to have his uniform number 6 retired.  Kaline was probably the most popular player ever to play for the Tigers.


Kaline in 2008 (age 73) 

Since retiring from the playing field in 1974, Kaline has lived in Detroit and remained active with the Tigers organization.  But he does come home to visit Westport every once in a while to remind himself of his modest roots. 

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Kaline in 1957

 

 

 

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