Albert R. Ballinger, 59, a stereotyper at The Washington Post since 1946, was stabbed to death Wednesday in the 1600 block of Crescent Place NW.

Washington police said he died of a single stab wound in the chest during an apparent robbery. He was found lying in the street at 6:40 p.m. and was pronounced dead an hour later at Washington Hospital Center.There are no suspects in custody.

"I don't think there's a single person here who didn't like and respect Al Ballinger. He was a fine man, and as excellent a craftsman as you'd ever see," said L. C. Turner, general foreman of The Post's stereotype department.

Mr. Ballinger, who lived near the site of the attack, was on his regular day off from The Post.He first began with the newspaper in 1939 as a delivery truck aide in the circulation department.

After serving as a staff sergeant with the Army in World War II, he returned to The Post in 1946 as an apprentice in the stereotype department. He became a journeyman two years later, and in 1967-68 was foreman of the department.

Mr. Ballinger left The Post briefly in 1953 to work for the San Diego (Calif.) Union.

He is survived by his wife, Virginia, of the home, a sister in California, and a half-sister in Florida. CAPTION: Picture, ALBERT R. BALLINGER