December 20 – Happy Birthday Oscar Gamble

ogambleThe first thing long-time Yankee fans usually remember about Oscar is his remarkable “fro” hairstyle. He used to compress it under his Yankee cap but after each hard swing or whenever he had to run in the field or on the bases, his cap would jump of his head and that huge mass of hair used to bounce up like a jack-in-the-box. The second thing I remember about Gamble was his perfect for Yankee Stadium left-handed swing. During his first tour in the Bronx, in 1976, that stroke helped Billy Martin and New York capture the AL Pennant, producing 17 home runs, many of which came at key moments of big games.

The Yankees then traded Oscar to Chicago as part of the package that put Bucky Dent in pinstripes. Oscar had a very timely career year with the White Sox in 1977, blasting 31 home runs, which enabled him to sign a nice free agent contract with the Padres. His only season in San Diego was not a good one and he was traded to Texas in 1979 and then back to New York (for Mickey Rivers) in the same season. He remained in pinstripes for the next five seasons becoming a fan favorite with his happy- go-lucky nature and wonderful one-liner sense of humor.

My favorite Gamble story was when he came to the plate with a runner on first and Yankee third base coach, Dick Howser started flashing him the bunt sign. Oscar kept stepping out of the box and looking at Howser for another sign. Finally, the coach called timeout and met Gamble halfway up the third base line. Howser told Oscar, Billy Martin wanted to get a runner in scoring position. Gamble told Howser, “I’m already in scoring position.” Howser and Martin relented and sure enough, free from the bunt sign, Oscar hit a home run.

Gamble was born in Ramer, AL and turns sixty-three-years-old today. He shares his birthday with the first starting second baseman in Yankee franchise history and with  one of baseball’s greatest business minds.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1976 NYY 110 384 340 43 79 13 1 17 57 5 38 38 .232 .317 .426 .743
1979 NYY 36 126 113 21 44 4 1 11 32 0 13 13 .389 .452 .735 1.187
1980 NYY 78 229 194 40 54 10 2 14 50 2 28 21 .278 .376 .567 .943
1981 NYY 80 227 189 24 45 8 0 10 27 0 35 23 .238 .357 .439 .796
1982 NYY 108 382 316 49 86 21 2 18 57 6 58 47 .272 .387 .522 .910
1983 NYY 74 208 180 26 47 10 2 7 26 0 25 23 .261 .361 .456 .816
1984 NYY 54 151 125 17 23 2 0 10 27 1 25 18 .184 .318 .440 .758
17 Yrs 1584 5197 4502 656 1195 188 31 200 666 47 610 546 .265 .356 .454 .811
NYY (7 yrs) 540 1707 1457 220 378 68 8 87 276 14 222 183 .259 .361 .496 .858
CLE (3 yrs) 369 1346 1192 190 327 43 10 54 148 19 135 127 .274 .352 .463 .815
PHI (3 yrs) 254 771 690 72 166 28 7 8 55 10 67 88 .241 .308 .336 .644
CHW (2 yrs) 207 654 556 95 151 27 2 35 103 1 88 76 .272 .377 .516 .893
TEX (1 yr) 64 201 161 27 54 6 0 8 32 2 37 15 .335 .458 .522 .979
SDP (1 yr) 126 437 375 46 103 15 3 7 47 1 51 45 .275 .366 .387 .753
CHC (1 yr) 24 81 71 6 16 1 1 1 5 0 10 12 .225 .321 .310 .631
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/20/2013.

1 Comment

THIS PICTURE IS TOO FUNNY,LOL THE HAIR …I REMEBER ‘THE HAIR DAYS ,AND BACK THEN THATS WHAT IT WAS ,BUT TO SEE THIS NOW TAKES ME WAY BACK!! THX FOR POSTING IT, MADE ME REMEMBER BACK IN THA DAY~ @NYTAMMY1 `

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