Al Kaline lot sells for more than double early estimates, auction house says

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Al Kaline finished his career with 399 home runs. Let's give him one more.

The high-profile auction of more than 400 Kaline-owned items proved a major hit, bringing in more than $1.64 million, more than double the early estimates, Dallas-based Heritage Auctions announced Monday.

The auction ran from Thursday through Saturday, with top sellers including Kaline's 1973 Wilson glove ($126,000), his 1984 World Series ring ($87,000) and his 1968 World Series replica trophy ($56,400).

Al Kaline is pictured in 1963.

Kaline, who died April, 6, 2020, at the age of 85, expressed that he wanted his family to sell off his collection, so as not to burden them with trying to organize and preserve the items. The family said a portion of the proceeds would go toward some of Kaline's favorite charities.

“We do not take this responsibility lightly, and it’s as much an honor as it is a pleasure working with these sports greats and their families to find new homes for their treasures and trophies,” Chris Ivy, president and founder of Heritage Sports, said in a statement Monday. "This is one of the great joys of this job: uniting players and fans through these tangible collections of moments and memories.

"And we can’t wait to do it all over again.”

The Kaline lot ran the gamut of Kaline's life and career, including several trophies, from high school and the majors — among them, his 10 Gold Gloves — as well as used balls, jerseys, bats, gloves and even golf clubs and bags from his decades as a member at Oakland Hills Country Club.

Also up for auction were signed contracts, including the one in 1971 which he turned down because he didn't believe he was worth $100,000; speeches, including from his Hall of Fame induction and the last game at Tiger Stadium; worn clothing; signed checks; a large collection of signed baseballs, including several signed by fellow Hall of Famers, and some even signed by former United States presidents; personal telegrams, sent from a variety of dignitaries; and even the retired No. 6 sign that hung at Tiger Stadium.

"His idea was to share it with the fans," Mark Kaline, one of Al's two sons, said of the decision to auction the collection, which had been partially displayed at the Kaline home, and partially stored in boxes.

Kaline was survived by wife Louise, sons Mike and Mark, and four grandchildren, including Colin, a former Tigers prospect and ex-head baseball coach at Oakland University.

The Kaline lot headlined Heritage's fall sports auction, which included a Mickey Mantle sweat-stained jersey that went for $615,000, and a Joe DiMaggio game-worn jersey that fetched $266,000. A ticket from the first game in which ex-Michigan QB Tom Brady threw an NFL touchdown, signed by Brady, went for $144,000, while a Brady rookie card brought in $288,000.

The total auction exceeded $26 million.

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Twitter: @tonypaul1984