This extraordinary jersey dates from Kaline’s only championship season and was worn during the regular season as well as in the World Series. Al Kaline entered the 1968 season with little left to accomplish. The
veteran outfielder’s Hall of Fame resume already included thirteen consecutive All-Star Game appearances, five Gold Glove Awards and one League batting title. The only thing missing was a World Series ring.
That too was close at hand. Thanks in large part to Denny McLain’s miraculous thirty-win season, the Tigers captured not only their first American League pennant in twenty-three years that summer but the World
Series as well, defeating the Cardinals in a dramatic seven game series.
This phenomenal Detroit Tigers road flannel jersey, dating from the Tigers World Championship season of 1968, is the very jersey worn by Kaline during the seventh and decisive game of the World Series, as well as being one of the two road jerseys worn by Kaline throughout the entire season. The gray road jersey is lettered “Detroit” across the front and features Kaline’s number “6” on the reverse and right sleeve. Both the letters and numbers are appliquéd in navy blue twill. A “Rawlings 44” label appears in the collar. Located on the left front tail are a wash tag and an adjacent flag tag that reads “Set 1 1968.” The jersey is original and unaltered, displaying excellent wear throughout including a number of light scattered stains on the front.
The jersey’s World Series provenance is provided in the form of a letter from Jane Kilpatrick, the daughter of noted Detroit photographer James Kilpatrick, in which she writes: “My father, James R. (Scotty) Kilpatrick worked as a photographer for the Detroit News for almost 40 years. In 1968 he covered the World Series that the Tigers eventually won. After the last game my father returned home and gave me the jersey Al Kaline wore in the final game. For almost 25 years I have considered it a prized possession.” James Kilpatrick was a longtime photographer with the paper and is most famous for his “Battle of the Overpass” photo, which captured labor strife during the 1937 autoworkers strike.
This is a simply outstanding world-class Al Kaline flannel jersey, perhaps the very best and arguably most significant of his career, dating from his only World Championship season. Al Kaline was the hitting star for the Tigers during the 1968 World Series, batting .378 with two home runs and eight RBI. He would eventually finish his career with 3,007 hits, 399 home runs, 1,583 RBI and a .297 lifetime average. Kaline was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980, his first year of eligibility. Graded A10 by Mears. LOA from Dave Bushing & Troy Kinunen/MEARS.
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