One of the winning Powerball tickets not only came from just outside of Kansas City, it contains a link to Royals history.
By JEFFREY FLANAGAN FS Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Maybe the stars will be aligned just right for the Kansas City Royals this season.
At least that's how Royals Hall of Famer Mark Gubicza sees it, after learning that the winning numbers from Wednesday's $587.5 million Powerball jackpot happened to also represent the numbers of five Royals Hall of Famers, as well as one of the most popular Royals of all time, Bo Jackson.
One of the two winning tickets was purchased in Dearborn, Mo., a small town off highway I-29 about 30 miles north of Kansas City and Kauffman Stadium, and directly en route to the Royals' Triple-A affiliate in Omaha.
The winning numbers were 5 (George Brett), 16 (Bo Jackson), 22 (Dennis Leonard), 23 (Gubicza), 29 (Dan Quisenberry) — and the Powerball number was 6 (Willie Wilson).
The winning ticket with the Royals connection belonged to Dearborn couple, Mark and Cindy Hill.
"It can't be just coincidence," Gubicza told FOXSportsKansasCity.com by phone. "The person who bought it must have been a Royals fan. I'm pretty sure I've been through that little town, too, on a Royals caravan at some point in my career."
"I know one thing," Gubicza said. "Bo knows lotteries. Why else would his number be in there, too?"
But was it a coincidence? According to the Dearborn couple who purchased the ticket, it was purely that. The couple confirmed that the winning numbers came randomly, generated by the "Quick Pick" option.
"Random" Cindy said at a press conference at North Platte High School in Dearborn on Friday. "We love the Royals."
Cindy, 51, said her husband, Mark, 52, gave her $10 prior to Wednesday's drawing and told her to "go buy 10 lottery tickets."
She laughed and corrected him that Powerball tickets cost $2 each.
The Hills' winning ticket was worth $295,750,000, and they could have taken the amount annually over 29 years. Instead they opted for the lump sum and will receive about $136.5 million after state and federal taxes.
"If they picked our Hall of Fame numbers, I think they should kick some money back to us," Gubicza said, laughing.
Speculation that the Missouri winner may have intentionally used Royals Hall of Fame numbers (plus Bo) started on NBC. Gubicza got a call Thursday afternoon and was asked to talk about the possible coincidence at the NBC Studios in Burbank, Calif.
"I don't know how someone made that connection," Gubicza said. "But that was pretty cool. There had to be a Royals fan working for NBC.
"But you don't get many calls like that, to go talk about a lottery winner on national TV. Actually, they called my brother in Philadelphia, where I'm from, because they didn't have my number. I'm glad he gave it to them. This has been fun."
Here's another Royals connection, albeit somewhat of a stretch: The other winning ticket was purchased in Fountain Hills, Ariz., which is only about a 30-minute drive east of Surprise, the Royals' spring-training home.
"To me, that's all getting a little freaky," Gubicza said. "I'm telling you, this can only mean great things for the Royals. There's a connection there. Kansas City is going to have a great season."