BALTIMORE (AP) _ Mark Belanger, who won eight Gold Gloves with the Baltimore Orioles as one of the best fielding shortstops of his generation, died of lung cancer Tuesday at 54.

A heavy smoker, Belanger was diagnosed with the disease about a year ago.

Belanger played from 1965-81 with Baltimore and ended his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1982. He had a lifetime batting average of only .228, but his weak hitting was more than offset by his glove.

He won six consecutive Gold Gloves from 1973-78. Brooks Robinson, with 16 Gold Gloves, is the only Orioles player to have won more.

Belanger played for the 1970 World Series championship team and on four pennant winners and six division champions.

After he retired, he became a key figure in the Major League Baseball Players Association as the longtime assistant to union head Donald Fehr.

Belanger helped keep players united during a two-day strike in 1985, a 32-day lockout in 1990 and a 230-day strike that wiped out the end of the 1994 season, the entire postseason and the first three weeks of the 1995 schedule.