KC Royals: How Kowar’s debut stacks up against KC’s best

(Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals, Larry Gura
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He didn’t start out with the KC Royals, but Larry Gura was a club star.

Larry Gura’s 111 wins are fifth-best in Kansas City franchise history, but he didn’t debut with the Royals, or even in the American League. Instead, the Cubs called on Gura to finish a lopsided 9-2 loss to Atlanta in late April 1970.

Chicago stood 13-4 when starter and future Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins took the mound against Atlanta. Jenkins didn’t make it out of the second inning—the Braves tagged him for five runs before manager Leo Durocher replaced him with future Royal Jim Colborn.

Durocher didn’t opt for Gura until Jim Cosman loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh. Unfortunately, Atlanta pitcher George Stone tagged Gura for a two-run single, and the future Royal’s career was underway. He finished the inning and pitched a scoreless eighth to end his first major league outing.

The KC Royals obtained Gura via an early season trade with the Yankees in 1976. Working primarily out of the bullpen, he went 4-0 that year with a 2.30 ERA, then saved 10 games for the Royals in 1977 before he transitioned to the rotation in 1978. He won 16 games that season, and posted 18 victories twice (1980 and 1982). His career came full circle when Kansas City released him in early 1985 and he rejoined the Cubs. It was his last big league season.