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 from under his cap, died Jan. 31 at a hospital in Birmingham, Ala. 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.

Mr. Gamble, who lived in Montgomery, Ala., entered a hospital last week. His wife said he never chewed tobacco.

A left-handed hitter known for the crouch in his batting stance, Mr. Gamble had a .265 batting average and 666 runs batted in during his career with seven big league teams.

He spent seven seasons with the New York Yankees in two stints. He had an endorsement deal with Afro Sheen but had to trim his hair to comply with owner George Steinbrenner's grooming policy when he joined the Yankees for the 1976 season.

"Pete Sheehy told him no uniform until the haircut," Steinbrenner said in 1991, referring to the Yankees' longtime clubhouse man. "I said, 'Oscar, I've got a barber.' They brought this guy in and he butchered him. Absolutely butchered him. I was sick to my stomach. I told Oscar, 'It looks good,' but I thought to myself it was absolutely the worst. There were blotches in his scalp."

After helping the Yankees win the American League championship, Mr. Gamble became expendable when New York signed slugger Reggie Jackson, and Mr. Gamble was traded to the Chicago White Sox for Bucky Dent. While with Texas in 1979, Mr. Gamble was dealt back to the Yankees for Mickey Rivers, and he helped the team reach the World Series again in 1981.

Notable deaths in 2018 and 2019: Nipsey Hussle, George H.W. Bush, Stan Lee, John McCain, Aretha Franklin and other famous faces we’ve lost

Nipsey Hussle, a Grammy nominated rapper who sought to revive South Los Angeles, died at age 33 on March 31. Read the obituary (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Warner Music)

In an era of constant turmoil dominated by Steinbrenner and manager Billy Martin, Mr. Gamble described the clubhouse by saying, "They don't think it be like it is, but it do," according to Dan Epstein's book "Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging '70s."

Mr. Gamble was born Dec. 20, 1949, in Ramer, Ala., and was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1968 after being scouted by former Negro leagues star Buck O'Neil.

Mr. Gamble made his big league debut at age 19. After he was traded to Philadelphia, he had the last hit at Connie Mack Stadium in 1970. With the Cleveland Indians in the 1970s, he hit 54 home runs from 1973 to 1975.

Perhaps his most productive year came in 1977 with the White Sox, when he hit .297 with 31 home runs and 83 RBIs. His biggest postseason hits for the Yankees were a pair of tying home runs off Milwaukee's Moose Haas in Games 1 and 5 of the 1981 American League Division Series. He hit .358 for the Rangers and Yankees in 1979 but had only 327 plate appearances, far fewer than needed to qualify for a batting title.

Mr. Gamble also played for the San Diego Padres.

His first marriage, to Juanita Kenner, ended in divorce. Survivors include his second wife, Lovell Woods Gamble; three children from his first marriage; and two daughters from his second marriage. One of his sons, Sean Gamble, is a scout for the Colorado Rockies.