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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mark Gubicza
Mark Gubicza Royals.jpg
Gubicza with the Kansas City Royals in 1988
Pitcher
Born: (1962-08-14) August 14, 1962 (age 59)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 6, 1984, for the Kansas City Royals
Last MLB appearance
April 11, 1997, for the Anaheim Angels
MLB statistics
Win–loss record132–136
Earned run average3.96
Strikeouts1,367
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Mark Steven Gubicza (/ˈɡʊbɪzə/; born August 14, 1962), nicknamed "Gubie," is an American former professional baseball pitcher and sportscaster. Gubicza played for 14 major league seasons with the Kansas City Royals (1984–96) and Anaheim Angels (1997). He currently is a color commentator for Los Angeles Angels games on Bally Sports West.[1]

Early life

Gubicza was born on August 14, 1962, in Philadelphia. He is the son of Anthony Gubicza Jr., a former pitcher who pitched in the minor leagues for two years and later served as a part-time coach for the Villanova Wildcats.[2] His grandfather, Anthony Gubicza Sr., was a Magyar Hungarian immigrant that settled in Walnutport, Pennsylvania.[3]

Growing up, Gubicza was interested in several sports, including baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and boxing. In Little League, he played shortstop and pitched. In one 17-game stretch in Little League, Gubizca accrued 57 hits at the plate.[4] Gubicza attended the William Penn Charter School where he was teammates with eventual professional player Rubén Amaro Jr.[5][6] Though he grew up in Philadelphia, he idolized Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer.[7] Coming out of high school, Gubicza had collegiate offers from Alabama, Georgia, Duke, and USC, among others. Gubicza and his father were present at Veterans Stadium for game six of the 1980 World Series, witnessing the Philadelphia Phillies win their first championship.[4]

Professional career

Kansas City Royals

1981–1983: Minor leagues

Gubicza was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 2nd round of the 1981 Major League Baseball draft, the 34th overall pick.[8] He began his professional baseball career at age 18 with the Royals Gold in the Gulf Coast League, where he went 8-1 with a 2.25 earned run average (ERA) and 40 strikeouts in 56 innings. Gubicza played for the Fort Myers Royals in the Florida State Class A League in 1982 and missed most of the season due to injuries. In 1983, he was assigned to the Jacksonville Suns, the Royals Double-A team in the Southern League, managed by Gene Lamont. Gubicza was 14–12 with a 2.72 ERA and 146 strikeouts in 196 innings.[9]

1984–1986: Early success

On April 6, 1984, Gubicza made his major league debut against the Cleveland Indians at Royals Stadium at the age of 21. He pitched 6 innings, gave up 5 hits, 1 run, and struck out 4.[10] Gubicza proved to be a promising pitcher early in his rookie season, posting a 3.14 ERA in his first 10 starts across 66 innings. He threw his first-ever complete game shutout on May 12 against the Boston Red Sox. Despite Gubicza's pitching stats, he did not accrue many wins as the Royals had trouble providing run support during his starts. Following an 0–3 loss to the Minnesota Twins on June 15 where he pitched 7+13 innings and gave up 2 earned runs, Gubicza dropped to a 3–6 record on the season. It was the fourth time that season that the Royals were shut out while Gubicza was pitching and the seventh time that the Royals scored three or fewer runs in one of his starts.[11] By the end of the regular season, Gubicza had a 10–14 record with a 4.05 ERA across 189 innings. The Royals offense provided an average of 4.06 runs per Gubicza start, nearly equal to his ERA. Despite being a member of the four-man rotation that helped the Royals win the American League Western division that year, Gubicza did not get a chance to pitch in the 1984 American League Championship Series because Kansas City was swept in three games by the eventual World Series champion Detroit Tigers team.

Gubicza (middle) looks on as President Ronald Reagan speaks during the Royals' 1985 White House visit
Gubicza (middle) looks on as President Ronald Reagan speaks during the Royals' 1985 White House visit

For his sophomore season in 1985, Gubicza joined a 5-man rotation alongside Bud Black, Danny Jackson, Charlie Leibrandt, and Bret Saberhagen. The rotation proved to be elite with a combined sub-3 ERA through April and a combined 3.47 ERA by the end of the regular season, the sixth-best in the majors. Gubicza posted similar stats to his previous season: a 4.06 ERA through 177+13 innings worked. His win-loss record improved to 14–10 as the Royals were able to provide him with more run support at an average of 4.70 runs per start. Gubicza made his only career postseason appearances during the 1985 American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays. In game one of the series, Gubicza entered the game as a reliever in the fifth inning following a 2-inning start by Leibrandt that resulted in 5 runs being surrendered. Gubicza worked three innings in relief, giving up no hits or runs while striking out two and walking one. In game six of the series, Gubicza was tasked with a pivotal role as the starter since the Royals were down 2–3 and attempting a return from a 3–1 deficit. He lasted 5+13 innings, giving up 3 runs while accruing 2 strikeouts and walking 3 batters. The Royals won the game 5–3, setting them up for a winner-take-all matchup the following night that they would go on to win. While the Royals did advance to the 1985 World Series, Gubicza did not pitch as the team elected for a four-man rotation.[12] Following the 1985 season, the Royals considered trading Gubicza to the San Francisco Giants for Chili Davis in order to bolster the team's offense. Kansas City's front office ultimately decided against it because San Francisco also wanted Darryl Motley and prospect Van Snider, a price that was seen as too high.[13]

In 1986, Gubicza was a cornerstone of a revised Royals rotation that saw former starter Bud Black moved to the bullpen. He established himself as the team's second-best starter behind Danny Jackson, posting a 3.64 ERA across 180+13 innings with a 12–6 record. Gubicza pitched two complete game shutouts in 1986, first against the Cleveland Indians on May 14 and later against the New York Yankees on August 17. Following the 1986 season, the Royals once again considered trading Gubicza for Chili Davis. Gubicza was also named in talks for Seattle Mariners players Phil Bradley and Danny Tartabull, but he was not traded.[14]

1987–1989: All-Star selections

In 1987, Gubicza made a major jump in his innings pitched, working 241+23 innings. He posted a 3.98 ERA and a 13–18 record and led the Royals with 166 strikeouts. He struggled at the start of the season and moved to a career 0–7 record in the month of April.[15] Gubicza threw 10 complete games and two complete game shutouts, first on June 23 at Oakland and later on September 23 at Seattle.

In 1988, Gubicza had the statistically-best season of his career. He put up a 20–8 record in 35 starts, 8 complete games, 4 shutouts, 269+23 innings pitched, 237 hits allowed, 94 runs allowed (81 earned), 11 home runs allowed, 83 walks, 183 strikeouts, and a 2.70 ERA.[5] He threw a complete game shutout against the eventual AL Pennant-winning Oakland Athletics on September 16. For his efforts, Gubicza finished third in voting for the 1988 American League Cy Young Award behind Frank Viola and Dennis Eckersley. He was selected to his first career All Star Game.

Gubicza followed up his career-best season with another All Star campaign in 1989. He posted a 15–11 record through 255 innings with a 3.04 ERA and a league-leading 36 starts. He threw a complete game shutout against the New York Yankees on June 2.

1990–1996: Injury troubles

In July 1990, Gubicza and a team doctor decided that arthroscopic surgery was necessary for his injured right arm, effectively ending his season because of the four-to-six month recovery timeframe. The pain in his right arm began with a strain in his rotator cuff at the end of the 1989 season, causing a brief absence in the last few weeks of that season. The team originally thought his arm had healed over the offseason, so he pitched with the lingering injury from April to late June in 1990. Gubicza underwent the arm surgery, the first of his career, on August 2.[16] In his limited time on the mound that season, he had a 4–7 record across 94 innings with a 4.50 ERA and 71 strikeouts.

Gubicza in 1991
Gubicza in 1991

Gubicza was not ready to return to the mound until May 14, 1991, when he made his season debut in Toronto. In his first game since the surgery, he went 5 innings and surrendered 3 runs with 8 strikeouts and 1 walk. Gubicza struggled throughout the 1991 season, including a 6-run shelling by the California Angels in 23 of an inning on June 26. Through his first 10 games, Gubicza had a 5.98 ERA and a 4–5 record. By the end of the season, Gubicza accrued a 9–12 record across 133 innings with a 5.68 ERA and 89 strikeouts.[5]

In 1992, Gubicza looked back to his former self, posting a 3.72 ERA across 111+13 innings through July. On July 10, Gubicza left a game against the Milwaukee Brewers after 1 inning because of stiffness in his right forearm. The Royals did not initially consider the uncomfort to be a serious issue, but he was ultimately placed on the disabled list on July 15 because an examination found he had an inflamed synovial bursa.[17][18] Gubicza began a 40-pitch rehab program on July 22, but he failed to complete it as the soreness in his arm lingered.[18] He suffered another setback in his recovery in August, and speculation began to mount that his injury would be season-ending.[19] Doctor Lewis Yocum examined Gubicza's arm on August 24 and found that his bursa had healed but he still had a weakness in his rotator cuff, keeping him off the mound for another month, therefore ending his season.[20]

In 1993, Gubicza started in six of the first seven turns of the rotation but was moved to the bullpen after struggling, including a 1+23-inning, 7-run start against the Boston Red Sox on April 8. Through his first seven appearances, he had a 6.55 ERA and an 0–4 record. During his time as a reliever, Gubicza lowered his season ERA to 4.66 while collecting 2 saves and 8 holds across 43 appearances.[5]

In 1994, Gubicza returned to the starting rotation. In the strike-shortened season, he posted a 7–9 record across 130 innings with a 4.50 ERA and 59 strikeouts.[5]

In 1995, Gubicza's numbers improved after a stretch of turbulent seasons. In 213+13 innings pitched, he put up a 12–14 record with a 3.75 ERA and 81 strikeouts. He led the majors in games started with 33.[5]

In 1996, his final season with the Royals, Gubicza's numbers faltered. Through July, Gubicza had pitched 119+13 innings with a 4–12 record, 5.13 ERA, and 55 strikeouts.[5] On July 5, in a start against the Minnesota Twins at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Gubicza had to leave the game in the second inning after a batted ball hit by Paul Molitor broke his tibia. The Twins team doctor fitted Gubicza with a cast that day, signaling that he would be out for at least eight weeks and possibly longer.[21] Gubicza did not pitch again that season. In his 13 seasons with Kansas City, he finished with a 132–135 record, a 3.91 ERA, 327 games started, 42 complete games, 16 complete game shutouts, 2218+23 innings pitched, 1366 strikeouts, a 110 ERA+, a 3.67 FIP, and 9.6 SO/9.[5]

Anaheim Angels

On October 28, 1996, the Royals traded Gubicza and prospect Mike Bovee to the Anaheim Angels in exchange for designated hitter Chili Davis, the same swap that Kansas City had previously considered in 1985 and 1986. The Angels made the trade to open the designated hitter spot for one of the team's four outfielders — Tim Salmon, Garret Anderson, Jim Edmonds, and Darin Erstad. Gubicza was brought on to an Angels pitching staff that had combined for a 5.29 ERA in the previous season, the second-worst in the league. Southern California was familiar territory for Gubicza as he had been living in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Northridge while with the Royals.[22]

Gubicza's time on the field with the Angels was short-lived as he only pitched 4+23 innings across two starts that resulted in a total of 13 earned runs surrendered for an ERA of 25.07.[5] In his first start since breaking his leg nine months earlier, he gave up only a solo home run through the first three innings against the Cleveland Indians but he ultimately gave up seven runs in the fourth inning and was batted around.[23] On April 11, again pitching against the Indians, Gubicza gave up six runs in the second inning.[24] Following his second start, Gubicza was sent back to Anaheim to receive an MRI on his shoulder. The results were normal but he received a cortisone injection and went on the disabled list.[25] Despite the seemingly mild diagnosis, Gubicza ultimately needed arthroscopic surgery for the second time in his career and missed the remainder of the 1997 season as a result. He was not activated from the disabled list until October.[26]

Following the 1997 season, the Angels re-signed Gubicza to a minor league contract but released him shortly after. He signed a minor-league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers in January 1998 but announced his retirement the following month, citing his injuries.[27]

Pitching style

Gubicza's early pitching was heavily influenced by his father, who had more time to coach his son due to an injury that prematurely ended his minor league baseball career. By the time he was in high school, Gubicza had learned to pitch with the "drop-and-drive" form, a pitching mechanic where the pitcher bends their non-dominant leg to add momentum to their throw. His usage of the mechanic was specifically based on Tom Seaver, a famous user of the drop-and-drive. This pitching mechanic helped Gubicza to reach 92 miles per hour (148 km/h) on his fastball and 82 miles per hour (132 km/h) on his curveball in high school.

While in the Royals minor league system, pitching instructor Gary Blaylock introduced the slider and sinker pitches into Gubicza's repertoire. Despite having a varied pitch mix, he was best known for his hard-thrown fastballs. In 1988, with the help of pitching coach Frank Funk, Gubicza loosened up his delivery, a change that delivered improved results. Following his arthroscopic surgery in 1990, Gubicza decreased the usage of his fastball and favored breaking balls in order to manage pain in his throwing arm.[4]

Broadcasting career

In 2000, Gubicza took a job as an analyst for the Fox Sports Net shows titled National Sports Report and Baseball Today. He was also offered a job to be on ESPN's Baseball Tonight, but declined because the show's Bristol, Connecticut studio was too far from home.[28]

Gubicza appeared in 30 for 30: You Don't Know Bo, a documentary about former Royals teammate Bo Jackson which first aired on December 8, 2012.[29]

Bally Sports West

Gubicza has worked for Bally Sports West, formerly known as Fox Sports West, since the mid-2000s. He has primarily served as a color commentator for Angels broadcasts, occasionally providing pre-game and post-game analysis on Angels Live and formerly for Dodgers Live. In 2007, he was paired with José Mota on 50 Angels telecasts on Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket and KCOP.[30] He also co-hosted Angels in the Infield with Bill Macdonald. The Angels announced in 2008 that he would work roughly 75 games on television during that year's season. Gubizca was slated to work with Rory Markas on Angels broadcasts in 2010 before Markas's sudden death on January 4, 2010. On March 3, 2010, Victor Rojas was named as Markas's replacement, a broadcast partner Gubicza remained with until 2020. In 2021, Gubicza became a permanent fixture of an otherwise rotating broadcast booth that featured Matt Vasgersian as the primary play-by-play announcer with Daron Sutton (and later Rich Waltz) filling in when Vasgersian had to call games for ESPN or MLB Network.[31] In 2022, Vasgersian remained on the network's primary broadcast team alongside Gubicza and became more available due to his departure from ESPN.[32]

Gubicza hosts a weekly segment called "Gubie Tuesdays" that is shown during games between a commercial break and the return to action on the field. In the segment, Gubicza interviews various Angels players with open-ended questions about baseball or other lighthearted subjects.[33][34]

Legacy

Gubicza became known as a fastball pitcher in part due to his 6 ft 6 in, 215 lb (1.98 m, 97 kg) frame that helped him to develop a velocity above 90 miles per hour (140 km/h) as early as high school.[5] Gubicza was also noted for his work ethic on the mound, with Royals general manager John Schuerholz describing him as having a "bulldog mentality."[4] At the time of his retirement, Gubicza had the most strikeouts in Royals history with 1,366, since surpassed by Kevin Appier with 1,458. He also finished his Royals tenure third all-time in wins with 132 and second in pitching wins above replacement with 38.0.[35]

On July 21, 2006, Gubicza was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame in a pregame ceremony at Kauffman Stadium.[36] Gubicza called his induction a "tremendous honor" and former teammates John Wathan and Jeff Montgomery commemorated his career at the ceremony.[37]

Gubicza was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame on January 31, 2010.[38] He was inducted into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame on June 16, 2022.

Personal life

Gubicza met his wife, Lisa, at the wedding of Royals teammate Bret Saberhagen.[4] While playing for the Royals, he resided for many years in the Northridge neighborhood of Los Angeles.[22] Gubicza is the nephew of former Central Intelligence Agency official Robert Ames.

Because of his roots in Philadelphia, Gubicza is a fan of the various sports teams of the city. He has attended Philadelphia Eagles games with Angels outfielder Mike Trout, a Millville, New Jersey native who also roots for Philadelphia's teams.[39]

Coaching career

Following his playing career, the Royals offered Gubicza a job as a roving minor-league pitching instructor, but he declined.[28] He spent several years coaching Little League and 14-U travel teams in the San Fernando Valley area. In August 2002, Gubicza was named the head baseball coach at Chaminade High School in West Hills, California, a post he remained at until 2007.[40] One of the students he coached was eventual MLB outfielder Kevin Pillar.[41] Gubicza's son, Chad, attended Chaminade.[42] Chaminade would sometimes play nearby Calabasas High School, a team that was coached by Gubicza's former Kansas City teammate Bret Saberhagen.[43]

References

  1. ^ "Los Angeles Angels Broadcasters". MLB.com. MLB Advanced Media.
  2. ^ "Gubicza completes shutout as Royals clip Indians 3-0". Associated Press. Flat River, Missouri: Daily Journal. May 13, 1992. p. 7. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  3. ^ "Anthony Gubicza  in the New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957". Ancestry. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e Katsoulis, Stephen. "Mark Gubicza". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Mark Gubicza Stats". Baseball Reference. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  6. ^ Silary, Ted (May 17, 2012). "Mellor reflects on 34 years as Penn Charter's baseball coach". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  7. ^ Gosselin, Rick (July 20, 1984). "A tall, gangling, power pitcher who grew up in..." United Press International. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  8. ^ "2nd Round of the 1981 MLB June Amateur Draft". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  9. ^ "Mark Gubicza Minor League Stats". Baseball Reference. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  10. ^ "Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals Box Score, April 6, 1984". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  11. ^ Covitz, Randy (June 16, 1984). "First on the scoreboard, then Royals go on the blink". Kansas City Times. pp. E1 and E4. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  12. ^ "1985 World Series". Baseball Reference. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  13. ^ Ringolsby, Tracy (December 13, 1985). "Royals decide Giants want too much for Davis". Kansas City Times. pp. D1 and D3. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  14. ^ "Rumors will materialize or vanish at winter meetings". Orlando Sentinel. December 7, 1986. p. 51. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  15. ^ Covitz, Randy (April 10, 1987). "White Sox's DeLeon silences Royals' bats". Kansas City Times. pp. D1 and D3. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  16. ^ Flanagan, Jeffrey (July 28, 1990). "Gubicza finished for season; surgery scheduled Thursday". The Kansas City Star. p. 7. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  17. ^ Kaegal, Dick (July 11, 1992). "Injuries plague Royals". The Kansas City Star. p. 41. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  18. ^ a b Flanagan, Jeffrey (July 23, 1992). "Gubicza's injury still apparent". The Kansas City Star. p. 92. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  19. ^ Etkin, Jack (August 15, 1992). "Gubicza can't shake off pesky shoulder injury". The Kansas City Star. p. 46. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  20. ^ "Gubicza update". The Kansas City Star. August 26, 1992. p. 35. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  21. ^ Neal III, LaVelle E. (July 6, 1996). "Gubicza's latest bad break may put him out for year". The Kansas City Star. p. 40. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  22. ^ a b Bui, Albert (October 29, 1996). "Angels trade Davis". The San Bernardino Sun. p. 21. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  23. ^ "Angel Report". Los Angeles Times. April 7, 1997. p. 31. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  24. ^ DiGiovanna, Mike (April 12, 1997). "Gubicza, Pitching Staff Are Not Getting Better". Los Angeles Times. p. 39. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  25. ^ Bloom, Earl (April 14, 1997). "Gubicza gets good news". The San Bernardino Sun. p. 26. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  26. ^ "Angels activate Gubicza, Velarde". The Santa Clarita Valley Signal. October 10, 1997. p. 22. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  27. ^ "Dodgers' Gubicza Retires". Associated Press. February 13, 1998. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  28. ^ a b Hoffarth, Tom (July 21, 2000). "Full-service Olbermann". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  29. ^ "30 for 30". IMDB. ESPN Films. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  30. ^ "Angels and FSN West add telecast team". MLB.com. MLB Advanced Media. February 14, 2007. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016.
  31. ^ Bollinger, Rhett (March 11, 2021). "Vasgersian to lead Angels' 3-man booth". MLB.com. MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  32. ^ Jackson, Walton (October 6, 2021). "Report: ESPN's Matt Vasgersian Leaving 'Sunday Night Baseball'". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  33. ^ "Gubie Tuesdays: Comfort Food". Fox Sports. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  34. ^ "Gubie Tuesdays: What's your favorite TV show?". Fox Sports. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  35. ^ "Kansas City Royals Top 10 Career Pitching Leaders". Baseball Reference. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  36. ^ "Welcome Back Goobie!". The Kansas City Star. July 21, 2006. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  37. ^ Boyce, David (July 22, 2006). "Gubicza's Sweet Emotion". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  38. ^ Bolen, Erin (February 1, 2010). "Latest class enters Missouri Hall". Springfield News-Leader. pp. 1B and 2B. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  39. ^ Miller, Scott (June 25, 2019). "Mike Trout built for Anaheim, but he's still Philly's guy". Bleacher Report. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  40. ^ Bonsignore, Vincent (August 2, 2002). "Chaminade chooses Gubicza as coach". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  41. ^ "Ex-pitchers now manage high school teams". ESPN. March 23, 2005. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  42. ^ "Here's a stunner: Suppan is headed to Chaminade". Los Angeles Times. August 9, 2010. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  43. ^ "Royal reunion". Los Angeles Times. March 26, 2005. p. 63. Retrieved March 18, 2022.

External links

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