Luke Appling, the Hall of Fame shortstop who was one of baseball's beloved players, died suddenly Thursday. He was 83.
Appling, who played his entire 20-year career with the Chicago White Sox, hit over .300 16 times, won two American League batting titles, set major league records for longevity at shortstop and retired with a .310 lifetime average.He was admitted to Lakeside Community Hospital on Wednesday night with an aneurysm of the aorta. Appling died during surgery hours later.
Lucius Benjamin Appling Jr. had his finest season in 1936, leading the AL with a .388 batting average - highest ever for a shortstop - and driving in 128 runs.
He won a second batting title in 1943, hitting .328, and narrowly missed another when he hit .348 in 1940, four points behind Joe DiMaggio.
But Appling, who never played on a championship club, got perhaps his most famous hit in 1982, when at the age of 75 he slammed a home run off Warren Spahn in an old-timers game at Washington's RFK Stadium.
"That home run gets more attention than any homer, or even any hit, that I ever had," he said four years later. "It's pretty amazing."