Mark Gubicza and my mom: a KC Royals Mother's Day tribute

My mom's favorite player.
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Mark Gubicza became a staple of Kansas City's pitching staff

The Royals' young arms coalesced into a formidable unit the following season, fueling the franchise's first World Series victory. Bret Saberhagen was the breakout star, winning his first Cy Young award and World Series MVP honors, and Danny Jackson earned a reputation for coming through in the clutch, but Gubicza continued to make a name for himself alongside Charlie Leibrandt and Bud Black.

Gubicza flipped his record from the previous year to 14-10 with a 4.06 ERA but was the odd man out in the postseason. October got off to an auspicious start for the second-year pitcher. He made his playoff debut in Game 1 of the ALCS, throwing three scoreless innings in relief. He then started Game 6 against Toronto, hurling 5.1 innings and giving up three runs on his way to a win as the Royals fought back from a 3-1 series deficit.

That was the last postseason game of Gubicza's career, however. Manager Dick Howser went with a four-man rotation of Saberhagen, Leibrandt, Jackson, and Black against the Cardinals. Gubicza's number was never called during the Fall Classic. Disappointed as he must have been, better days were right around the corner for Gubicza.

Over the next few seasons, Gubicza hit his stride, cementing himself as an anchor of the Royals rotation, second only to Saberhagen. His best season came in 1988, when he finished third in the AL Cy Young chase with a 20-8 record and 2.70 ERA. He also pitched eight complete games. Gubicza followed this up with another outstanding showing in 1989, going 15-11 with a 3.04 ERA, as a very good Royals team fell just short of the loaded A's in the AL West standings.

Gubicza also led the league in games started that season, with 36. He started 35 each in both 1987 and 1988. He was both talented and dependable. But as the '80s gave way to the '90s, the always durable Gubicza began to break down. He started only 16 games in 1990, and just 18 in 1992.

After a slow start in 1993, the Royals transitioned him to the bullpen. This helped keep him on the field, but the results were far from stellar. In 49 games, Gubicza finished with a 5-8 record and 4.66 ERA. His WHIP climbed to a woeful 1.639.