The Texas Rangers traded outfielder Billy Sample and a player to be named later to the New York Yankees yesterday for infielder Toby Harrah, who was the Rangers' original -- and Washington Senators' last -- shortstop.

Harrah, 36, faded to .217 last season after the four-time American League all-star was obtained by the Yankees from Cleveland; the Indians acquired Harrah from Texas after the 1978 season.

James Madison University graduate Sample, 29, hit .247 with five homers, 33 RBI and 18 stolen bases for the Rangers in 1984. He's done better.

The Rangers will give Harrah the opportunity to win either the shortstop or second base job, said General Manager Tom Grieve, a teammate of Harrah on the Senators and Rangers . . .

Right fielder Kirk Gibson has broken off negotiations on a long-term contract with the Detroit Tigers until the end of the 1985 season, when he is eligible to become a free agent.

"I know I'm taking a gamble, but I want to show them I'm worth what I want," the World Series hero said at Detroit's first full squad workout . . .

Dwight Gooden, 1984 NL rookie of the year, officially signed the contract agreed upon last week with the New York Mets. He'll earn $335,000 for sure, possibly a lot more. (Particulars in Stat of the Day, Page E7) . . .

George Uhle, who led the AL with 26 victories in 1923 and 27 in 1926 highlighting a 200-166 pitching career, 1919-36, has died, at 86, in a hospital near Cleveland. His biggest years were with the Indians, straight off the Cleveland sandlots, before he moved on to Detroit (1929-33). "Uhle the Bull" was known for his curve and as a very good-hitting pitcher (.288 lifetime) . . .

The Baltimore Orioles' highlight film, entitled "A Winning Tradition," is available, in 16 mm or VHS, to groups free of charge. It provides a look at the Orioles' last five seasons and their recent trip to Japan. Contact Julie Wagner in the Orioles' public relations department . . .

For collectors and traders, there will be a baseball card show Saturday at Montgomery College-Rockville, starting 9 a.m. in the Campus Center lounge.