Oscar Gamble, Power Hitter With Prodigious Hair, Dies at 68

“As he raced across the Municipal Stadium outfield or hustled his way around the bases,” The Hardball Times, a baseball website, wrote in a profile in 2009, “Gamble frequently lost his cap and helmet in the wind; even extra large sizes of headwear could not sustain the friction created by the unstoppable Afro.”

But one person was able to stop it: George Steinbrenner, the principal owner of the Yankees. Gamble was traded to the Yankees after the 1975 season, and Mr. Steinbrenner demanded that his players keep their hair short, a rule that appealed to his sense of military discipline. (The policy continues with the Yankees today.)

“I went into Billy Martin’s office on the first day of camp and said, ‘Excuse me, there’s no uniform in my locker,’ ” Gamble told The New York Times in 2005, referring to the Yankees manager. “Billy looked at me and said: ‘Son, we have rules here. And you need a haircut.’ ”

He got the clipping one Sunday morning at a motel near the Yankees’ spring training facility in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The team paid a barber $40 to come to the motel on his day off. With eight inches from his Afro gone, Gamble barely resembled his…

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