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Batting champ, UAB coach Walker dies

Former major-leaguer and Alabama-Birmingham coach Harry "The Hat" Walker died Sunday afternoon from complications of a stroke. He was 82.

Walker, a left-handed hitter nicknamed for his habit of adjusting his cap between pitches, had a .296 average in a 22-year pro career, including 11 seasons in the majors. He batted an NL-leading .363 in 1947 for the Phillies and Cardinals.

He spent 20 years as a manager, including major-league stints with the Cardinals (1955), Pirates (1965-67) and Astros (1968-72). Walker was UAB's first baseball coach and had a 211-171 record from 1979-86.

Gwynn: Congrats to Wade

San Diego OF Tony Gwynn, who joined the 3,000-hit club about 26 hours before Wade Boggs, sent a hand-written fax to Boggs on Sunday morning.

"Congrats on your 3,000th hit. You worked long and hard for it and you deserve it. Thanks for setting the standard and good luck the rest of the season," the letter read.

STORM WARNING: Umpires tried to get through the inning after a severe thunderstorm blew into Atlanta in the top of the ninth, but they immediately stopped play when a bolt of lightning struck nearby. Giants pinch-hitter Stan Javier dropped his bat in fright, Braves 3B Chipper Jones ducked into the San Francisco dugout and Gerald Williams hustled in from leftfield like an Olympic sprinter. "I got a lot of high-fives in the tunnel," Jones said. "They can fine me if they want to, but I was getting the hell out of there."

CARDINALS: CF J.D. Drew was scratched with a bone bruise on his right hand.

DODGERS: RHP Jamie Arnold dropped his appeal and began serving a five-game suspension for his role in a brawl July 11 against Seattle. 2B Eric Young, on the DL since July 28 with a left ankle sprain, began a rehab assignment at Class A San Bernadino.

METS: RHP Rick Reed left in the second with a strained right middle finger. An MRI exam showed no structural damage. Reed is scheduled to see a hand specialist today.

PHILLIES: Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts and Jim Bunning took part in a pregame tribute honoring the franchise's 10 greatest moments this century. The 1980 World Series championship was selected as the top highlight.

_ TIMES WIRES

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