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, Mark Gubicza
(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

A workhorse starter for the KC Royals, Mark Gubicza had an excellent debut.

Mark Gubicza was only 21 when he made his first start for the Royals in the fourth game of the 1984 season. For a pitcher who’d never appeared in a major league game, he was superb.

Gubicza started against future Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven and drew a Cleveland club featuring Brett Butler, Tony Bernazard, Julio Franco, Pat Tabler, Mike Hargrove, Brook Jacoby, and Otis Nixon, and shut it down. He allowed a run on a fielder’s choice in the first inning, then held the Indians scoreless in the next five before giving way to Mark Huismann to start the seventh.

He struck out four, walked only one, and scattered five hits in his six innings. Unfortunately for him and the KC Royals, Blyleven and reliever George Frazier shut them out; Cleveland won 2-0.

Gubicza won for the first time four starts later when he shut Boston out 3-0. He finished his rookie season 10-14, won 14 games during the Royals’ 1985 World Series championship campaign, and posted 20 wins in 1988. Injuries struck the two-time All-Star in1989 and, although he pitched several more seasons, he never recaptured his best form.

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The righthander worked over 240 innings four times, and over 175 three others, in his 13 Royal seasons. Gubicza is third on KC’s all-time list with 132 wins.