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For an entire generation of Michiganians, Al Kaline was baseball. He spent a good part of three decades in right field at Tiger Stadium, and was every child’s hero. 

When the Tigers made the World Series in 1968, most of the games were played in the afternoon, while school was in session. Kids across the state slipped transistor radios into class, and as soon as the last bell rang they made a dead run home to turn on the game.

More: 'Baseball lost an icon': Tigers past and present pay tribute to Al Kaline

Kaline represented the best of sports in an era that valued sportsmanship, humility and loyalty in its athletes. 

He stuck with the Tigers organization for 67 years, 22 as a player.

With a lifetime batting average of .297, 3,007 hits, 399 home runs and 1,583 RBI, Kaline was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980.

But more than his stats, fans and those who knew him loved his personality on and off the field. A consummate professional, he was unassuming, kind and genuine.

Detroit lost an irreplaceable icon in Mr. Tiger. 

He died Monday at age 85. He was always a Tiger, and always will be.

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