The Detroit sports family suffered a tough loss on Monday when Detroit Tigers legend Al Kaline passed away, and Detroit Lions legend Barry Sanders as well as his former team had a lot to say about it.
In the aftermath of Kaline passing away, Sanders hopped on Twitter and provided a great message to Detroit and sports fans everywhere. As he said, it is tough to lose Kaline.
In addition to Sanders, the Lions themselves revealed a statement which revealed their sympathies for the loss of the Detroit baseball legend.
Obviously, Kaline was embedded in the fabric of the city deeply, and the football team embraced him.
Al Kaline Statistics
In a decorated career, Kaline is known for being one of the rare athletes who stuck with his original team through thick and thin. After coming to the Tigers in 1953, he played with Detroit until 1974 racking up 18 All Star game invites. He was the American League’s batting champion in 1955, and won the World Series in 1968. In his career, Kaline had 3,007 hits and won 10 Gold Gloves. After his career was over, he worked closely with the Tigers’ front office.
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred released a statement which celebrated the life of Kaline:
“Many of us who are fortunate enough to work in Baseball have our short lists of the players who mean the most to us. Al Kaline was one of those players for me and countless others, making this a very sad day for our sport. A lifelong Tiger, Al was a true gentleman and one of the National Pastime’s most universally respected figures. I appreciated his friendship, humility and the example that he always set for others since he debuted as an 18-year-old rookie.
“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Al’s wife, Louise, their family and friends, his admirers and the generations of Tiger fans who looked up to him.”
Kaline will be missed by everyone thanks to what he did on the field and off.
Barry Sanders Stats
To see Sanders run the ball for Lions fans through the years was to believe given what he was able to do with the team on the field. Sanders routinely had the quickness and deft ability to break plenty of ankles on the football field and remains one of the greatest highlights in the game fans love watching even years after his retirement. Athleticism is something that came naturally to Sanders, no matter whether he was on the grass or the hardwood, something that was revealed recently.
With the Lions, Sanders rushed for 15,269 yards and 99 touchdowns. He was routinely thought of as the best running back in the league, and would have shattered plenty of NFL rushing records had he decided to keep playing. Sanders, however, walked away from the game in 1999 on the eve of training camp, which stunned the Lions and all of their fans. The parties then went through a frustrating split for multiple years, based mostly upon the fact that the franchise made him pay back part of his contract amid retirement. It is a situation not unlike what is happening with Calvin Johnson currently.
Barry Sanders a Lions Legend Forever
Since, time has healed all wounds and Sanders has patched things up with the Lions and has become engaged in their alumni group. He also makes several visits a year to games the team is playing in, and was recently named to Detroit’s All-Century team, which is a major feather in his cap given what he was able to do as a team leader and a dominating force in the franchise.
As a result of his early retirement, Sanders maintains his health and vitality and looks phenomenal. It’s not a stretch to say that he could possibly still grind out some tough yards in the league at this point in time.
Now that Kaline has passed on, it’s possible Sanders will have to take the mantle as Mr. Detroit.
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