Oscar Gamble, Ball Player


Oscar_Gamble_1977The first articles to come out yesterday seemed to most comment on the hair:

  • “Oscar Gamble, Power Hitter With Prodigious Hair, Dies at 68,” New York Times
  • “Yankees alum Oscar Gamble, known for wild afro, dead at 68,” NJ.com
  • “Remembering White Sox outfielder Oscar Gamble and his amazing Afro,” Chicago Sun-Times
  • “Oscar Gamble, the man with baseball’s best hair, dies at 68,” Yahoo Sports
  • Former Yankee Oscar Gamble, known for his giant Afro and lefty power, dead at 68,” New York Daily News
  • “Former Yankees slugger Oscar Gamble – known for his oversized Afro – passes away at 68,” Daily Mail
  • “Remembering former major-leager – and amazingly coiffed – Oscar Gamble, who passes away today at 68,” Palm Beach Post
  • Ex-Indians hitter Oscar Gamble, a 1970s baseball icon for his unique batting stance and hairdo, dead at 68,” Cleveland.com

But once the news of Oscar Gamble‘s passing finally sank in, we learned even more about his contributions to the game. The New York Yankees released a statement yesterday which said, in part, “His prodigious power, unique style and joy in wearing pinstripes made him a favorite of the fans and of the Steinbrenner family … Oscar was a treasured member of the Yankees family…”

Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News said of Gamble, “He was so much more than one of the great hairdos in the history of baseball and maybe sports, Oscar Gamble was, even though when you saw the old pictures on Wednesday of an Afro that once seemed to be part of the baseball skyline in New York, Oscar made you smile all over again. He was never a great Yankee in his seven seasons here, never hit as many home runs as he did for the White Sox one time. But he was a ballplayer good enough to last 17 seasons in the big leagues. And a good teammate. And one of the good guys.” Lupica also quoted Reggie Jackson as saying, “Everybody remembers the hair. But what you need to know was that he was a sweet, decent man without a single ounce of malice in his heart, one who came through the door every day with a smile on his face.”

Joe Posnanski of MLB.com wrote about how Gamble was discovered by Buck O’Neil, when O’Neil was a scout for the Chicago Cubs. Posnanski shared O’Neil’s assessment, “Oscar Gamble! That sounds like a ballplayer. And he was. He was a heck of a ballplayer.”

Rest in peace, Oscar!

~ baseballrebecca

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One thought on “Oscar Gamble, Ball Player

  1. Pingback: The Best and Worst of Baseball in 2018 – The Baseball Sociologist

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