BALTIMORE — Mark Belanger, one of the best fielding shortstops of his generation and a key figure in the baseball players' union, died of lung cancer Tuesday at 54.
A heavy smoker, he was found to have the disease a year ago.
Belanger won eight gold gloves with the Baltimore Orioles, his team from 1965-81, and six of them were consecutive, 1973-78.
Belanger, who ended his career in 1982 with the Dodgers, had a lifetime batting average of only .228, but his weak hitting was more than offset by his glove. Nicknamed Blade, he had a lifetime .977 fielding percentage, eighth among shortstops.