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Detroit Tigers great Al Kaline salutes the crowd during a standing ovation during opening ceremonies prior to the final game at Tiger Stadium on Sept. 27, 1999.

DETROIT — Al Kaline, who broke into the major leagues with the Tigers as such a fresh-faced 19-year-old that ballpark security didn’t actually believe he was a player, and then went on to a Hall-of-Fame career amid six decades in professional baseball, died Monday. He was 85.

Kaline, according to the family friend, had recently suffered a stroke.

Generations of fans knew him as “Mr. Tiger,” as Kaline played 22 seasons in MLB, all with Detroit, from 1953, after he was signed for $35,000, out of Southern High School in Baltimore, through 1974.

His first game was June 25, 1953, at Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia, as he made a pinch-hit appearances. It would be nearly three months until he got his first start.

“It was a dog-eat-dog world back then among players,” Kaline told The News in 2014. “When I first joined the team, I was looked down on, because I was an 18-year-old kid taking a veteran’s job away from him.

“So a lot of guys were thinking, ‘What the hell is going on here?’ It’s true, I had a guy grab me my first day in uniform, saying he didn’t want me around.”

By 1955, his second full season, Kaline would become the youngest player ever to win an American League batting championship, hitting .340. The other 20-year-old to do it: another Tigers legend, Ty Cobb.

Kaline played 22 years, along the way, helping lead Detroit to its third World Series championship, in 1968, helping a city heal after the notorious riots of 1967. Kaline was the straight-laced star on a team full of oversized personalities, like Norm Cash and Denny McLain.

He finished with 3,007 hits, 399 home runs and a .297 batting average, leading the league in 1955 with 200 hits. Kaline would’ve had 400 home runs if not for one hit during a game that eventually was rained out. He made 18 All-Star Games, including 13 in a row at one point.

He remains the franchise leader in home runs, games played (2,834), walks (1,277) and sacrifice flies (104).

“I have always referred to Al Kaline as ‘Mister Perfection,’” the late Tigers manager Billy Martin once told a reporter. “He does it all — hitting, fielding, running, throwing — and he does it with that extra touch of brilliancy that marks him as a super ballplayer.”

Kaline also was a prolific right fielder, with a strong right arm, winning 10 Gold Gloves. He was considered the gold standard in right, along with Pittsburgh Pirates legend Roberto Clemente.

At 19, on July 7, 1954, Kaline threw out three White Sox runners in three consecutive innings.

“Kaline keeps making the kinds of plays we haven’t seen in right field in years,” The Detroit News quoted the Tigers’ manager Fred Hutchinson, afterward.

“That was a fair day,” said the always-understated Kaline. “Real fair. I liked it.”

His career, already legendary, was especially amazing considering at age 8, Kaline developed osteomyelitis and had a section of bone removed from his left foot. The surgery left him with as significant, permanent deformity.

Kaline was a notorious worker at his craft. Take his pregame defensive drills, which he undertook in the outfield before each batting practice and every game, were legendary. Few fans saw anything but the very end of them, before the gates of Briggs and, later, Tiger Stadium were opened. After long minutes of shagging flies, Kaline ran through each game situation: varying the outs, runners on different bases, while fielding fly balls in front of him and behind him, base hits forward and to the gaps.

In 1980, his first year eligible, Kaline was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, with 88.3% of the vote. Only Kaline, Hank Greenberg, Harry Heilmann, Charlie Gehringer, Mickey Cochrane and Cobb were elected by the writers, as Tigers, to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Kaline was the last.

Kaline’s induction speech came in at under 10 minutes, no surprise to those who knew him.

“He will always be ‘Mr. Tiger,’” another Detroit legend, Alan Trammell, said Monday.

Kaline traveled back to Cooperstown, N.Y., every summer for the induction ceremonies, including in 2018, to watch Tigers greats Trammell and Jack Morris be enshrined.

Statistically, Kaline is widely is considered the second-best Tiger ever, behind Cobb, with Miguel Cabrera closing fast.

Kaline’s No. 6 is among nine Tigers with their numbers retired (well technically eight, since they didn’t wear numbers in Cobb’s day), and he is one of six men to have a statue at Comerica Park.

The year after he retired, Kaline made the leap to Tigers television. He had a shy reputation during his playing days, but working alongside another former Tigers Hall of Famer, George Kell, eventually brought out the character in Kaline’s personality. Kell and Kaline, or George and Al as fans called them, worked together for multiple decades, with Kaline doing Tigers TV until 2002.

“George took me under his wing,” Kaline once said. “He made it seem like a conversation.”

Kell often provided the comedy, Kaline again was the straight man. If Kell was Johnny Carson, then Kaline was Ed McMahon. Kaline and Kell worked TV together for more than 20 years, until Kell retired after 1996.

Kaline also had been a longtime adviser to the Tigers’ front office, as special assistant to both general managers Dave Dombrowski and Al Avila. He often was spotted in uniform at Tigers spring training. It wasn’t just a token role to collect a hefty pay check, either. Kaline was heavily involved in key front-office meetings, Dombrowski said.

Kaline long has been a regular in the Tigers’ clubhouse, with a locker, and the players, young and old, gravitated toward him. He usually was holding a coffee, and sometimes reading the newspaper.

All the players called him Mr. Kaline.

“I owe everything to baseball,” Kaline once said.

“Without it, I’d probably be a bum.”

Outside of baseball, Kaline was an avid golfer, and a member at Oakland Hills Country Club, and in recent years he could often shoot his age or better.

Kaline is survived by wife Louise, his high-school sweetheart, sons Mark and Michael, and four grandchildren. One grandson, Colin, played professionally in the Tigers’ system and was head coach at Oakland University until recently stepping down. Al was a semi-regular at Oakland practices and games during Colin’s tenure.