Al Kaline has knee surgery after slip on golf course

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Al Kaline’s Hall-of-Fame career included more than two years’ worth of stints on the disabled list.

Mr. Tiger is laid up again.

Kaline, an avid golfer and longtime member at Oakland Hills Country Club, recently slipped near the 18th green at the historic Bloomfield Township course and his knee buckled, and he needed to be helped off the grounds.

He had outpatient surgery and will begin rehabbing shortly before rejoining the Tigers front office later this summer. He’s a special assistant to general manager Al Avila, and long has been a regular at Tigers home games.

Kaline’s good friend, radio announcer Jim Price, who’s also a member of Oakland Hills, said he’s been kidding Kaline about stepping in a small hole on a steep bank in the rough beyond the 18th green. Every member knows it’s there.

“I told him,” said Price, with a chuckle, “ ‘what are you doing hitting it over that green?’ ”

The Tigers provided few details about Kaline’s condition, with a spokesman saying only, “He’s on the mend.”

Kaline was forced to miss the annual Hall-of-Fame induction ceremonies this past weekend in Cooperstown, which was particularly crushing for him, given that ex-Tiger Pudge Rodriguez was enshrined.

Aside from that, he is most upset that he probably won't be golfing any more this year, Price said, laughing.

At 82, Kaline remains an exceptional golfer, carrying a 9.4 handicap, according to the Golf Association of Michigan. That means he can routinely shoot his age or better.

He played 22 seasons with the Tigers, winning a batting title and hitting 399 home runs. He entered the Hall of Fame in 1980, and remains the last player to go in with a Tigers cap on his plaque among Hall-of-Famers elected by the baseball writers.

After his playing days, he moved on to a long career as a Tigers television broadcaster alongside George Kell. In 2002, he joined the Tigers front office, first under Dave Dombrowski, and now under Avila.