Next up in our "Random Retro Baseball Player" series, we look at pitcher Mark Gubicza as requested by FanIQ...
Years Played: 1984-1997.
Teams Played For: Kansas City Royals(84-96), Anaheim Angels(97).
Positions: Pitcher(384 Games, 329 Games Started).
Career Line: 132-136, 3.96 ERA, 1.361 WHIP, 109 ERA+, 1371 K, 42 CG, 16 SHO, 2 Saves, 2223.1 IP.
Best Season: 1988- 20-8, 2.70 ERA, 1.187 WHIP, 149 ERA+, 183 K, 8 CG, 4 Shutouts, 36 G(All Started), 269.2 IP.
Awards/Leaderboard: 2-Time Al All-Star(1988, 1989)
3rd In AL Cy Young Voting(1988)
Led AL In Least Home Runs Allowed Per 9 IP 3 Times(1986-.399, 1988-.367, 1989-.353)
Led AL In Games Started Twice(1989-36, 1995-33)
Led AL In Least Walks Per 9 IP(1994-1.80)
Fun Facts: In Mark's first two seasons, he helped the Kansas City Royals make the playoffs, and even win the 1985 World Series.
He has a few Royals records that he would rather not have, leading the franchise in walks allowed, wild pitches, and hit batsmen. You can't get those records without pitching on the team for many years though.
In 1997, he was traded to the Angels, and would make only two starts before undergoing arthroscopic surgery for his right shoulder, and would miss the remainder of the season. He attempted to pitch again in 1998, signing a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but could only last a few weeks due to pain in his shoulder and retired.
He's spent the last few years as a broadcaster for the Angels, currently serving as an analyst for the radio broadcasts.
My Take: When we decide on who to cover for these pieces, we usually just name a bunch of names off the top of our heads. We'll also ask a few people for suggestsions sometimes. I swear, every time if somebody names more than a dozen players, Mark Gubicza is always mentioned. Any fairly serious baseball fan over 20 years old remembers this guy.
He dealt with injuries for much of his career, with all of the innings he logged in his early years being a major reason why. He came up as a thrower more than a pitcher. While he was incredibly successful that way, he had some control issues, leading to lots of walks and double-digit wild pitches in four straight years. However, he learned that you don't need to just fire a mid 90s fastball to be successful and began changing speeds, hitting his spots. He went from one of the wildest pitchers in baseball to leading the AL in fewest walks per 9 innings pitched in 1994. That change in pitching style and results is remarkable and there's not too many pitchers in the history of the game that have done that.
When I think of Royals starting pitchers, three names come to mind: Zack Greinke(because of how well he's doing right now of course), Bret Saberhagen, and Mark Gubicza. He's one of the greatest Royals pitchers of all-time, one of the best of the 80s, and would've been one of the best in the 90s if not for injuries.
Mark Gubicza's Baseball-Reference Page
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