Denny McLain on Tigers’ Teammate Al Kaline’s Passing

Howard Cole

In the 20 years I’ve been writing about baseball on the internet, I’ve been fortunate to develop hundreds of email relationships with baseball people. Many hundreds. 

Authors, artists, historians, museum employees, front office execs, fans -- and yes, even some public relations professionals. And some real characters.

Norm Coleman is one such character, and a unique one. He’s an actor and Ty Cobb impersonator, who performs regularly, often in Michigan, with his-man show. He’s made friends, and maintains some interesting correspondences with baseball types, just as I do.

After reading my piece about Al Kaline Tuesday, Norm reached out to former-Cy Young Award winner and Tigers’ teammate, Denny McLain, for comment, and forwarded the comments to me. Here they are, lightly edited for publication:

“Today the greatest player I ever played with and saw play, died.

“No one could match Kaline’s incredible ability. Al knew how to play. He was our superstar. Whenever he took the field; in the first inning, the fifth, the seventh and the ninth, he just knew how to play. The tougher the game, the better Al performed. He was always in control of his game.

“We will miss Al, but we will never ever forget. One of my idols, Al Kaline. The best I ever saw and one of my best friends. I send my deepest condolences to the Kaline family. I love you guys. One day at a time. Al is now hitting third for our Lord’s All Star team. Amen, Amen, Amen. Denny McLain."

For more about Norm Coleman, please see his website here. His book, "The Life & Times of Ty Cobb” is available on Amazon. 

And remember, glove conquers all.

Howard Cole has been writing about baseball on the internet since Y2K. Follow him on Twitter.

Willie Horton and Al Kaline photo by Lauren, Flickr/Creative Commons.

Comments (3)
No. 1-2

Being a North Dakota farmboy growing up, my Dad latched onto the Tigers. Whenever the Tigers came to town, he'd take me to Wrigley/Dodger Stadium (or as the Angels called it, Chavez Ravine)/Anaheim to see them play. Got to see Kaline gun down an Angel at the plate at Wrigley and McLain's 29th in Anaheim.

Thanks for the clue to the Cobb book by Coleman. I bought it, it should be here by Wed/Fri. While I would stop short of calling myself a Cobb scholar, there's not much written on or by him that I haven't read.

If I may make a suggestion for anyone else interested in Cobb, a very different tack was taken by Charles Leerhsen in "Ty Cobb, A Terrible Beauty". In it, he reveals that most of the negative tales about him were either exaggerated or wholly false. And if you Google Leerhsen, you'll find an hour long video taken of him at a college, speaking on his detective work.

As always, love reading you.


Nice to get more input on the quality of Al Kaline. McLain was the last guy to win 30 games, and I’d bet Kaline was a big part of success.