Oscar Gamble, an outfielder who hit 200 home runs over 17 major league seasons and was famous during his playing days for an Afro that spilled out of his helmet, died Wednesday of a rare tumor of the jaw. He was 68.
His second wife, Lovell Woods Gamble, said he was diagnosed with a benign tumor, ameloblastoma, about nine years ago. It became ameloblastic carcinoma in 2016 and he had the first of several operations that August. Gamble, who lived in Montgomery, Alabama, entered UAB Hospital in Birmingham on Jan. 22 and died there early Wednesday. His wife said he never chewed tobacco.
A left-handed hitter known for the crouch in his batting stance, he had a .265 batting average and 666 RBIs while playing for seven big league teams.
Hall of Fame reliever Goose Goosage remembered Gamble insisting that Yankees bat boys sprint out so Gamble could hand over his lumber before circling the bases on home runs.
“He’s just one of the funniest guys that I’ve even been around, even professional comedians,” Gossage said.
Rays fire team physician
The Tampa Bay Rays fired the team physician after a video posted on YouTube included accusations of sexual abuse with a teenager who worked for him about a decade ago.
The Rays severed ties with Michael Reilly, 67, on Tuesday and notified Major League Baseball and St. Petersburg police about the allegations in the video, which was posted by the woman, now 26, on Jan. 17, the team’s general counsel John Higgins said in a statement.
Reilly denied the abuse allegations in a statement issued by attorney Cathleen Bell Bremmer. He said he was “deeply troubled” by them and called the tarnishing of his reputation “disturbing.” He said he had a relationship with the woman when she was an adult.
St. Petersburg police spokeswoman Sandra Bentril said investigators are trying to determine whether charges should be filed.
Reilly also resigned a similar post at St. Petersburg Catholic High School when school officials contacted him about the video, The Tampa Bay Times reported. He also served as team doctor for the Tampa Bay Lightning from 1992-2002.
The 10-minute video titled “The Importance of Sharing My Story of Sexual Abuse,” was posted under the name Brianna Rah, which is not the woman’s real name.
“I know he’s done this to other people,” she said in the video. “I’ve debated making a video for years. I finally thought if I have to put my face out there, if it’s going to save another person from being sexually abused from this person, then so be it.”
She said she was 16 when she started working with Reilly. The abuse gradually progressed.
Around the horn
Left-hander Josh Smoker has been traded from the New York Mets to the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league left-hander Daniel Zamora and cash. The swap was announced Wednesday, five days after Smoker was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot after the Mets re-signed free agent infielder Jose Reyes.
... Mookie Betts beat the Boston Red Sox in the first salary arbitration case of the year. The All-Star outfielder will get a raise from $950,000 to $10.5 million instead of the team’s $7.5 million.