Coincidence? Royals linked to Powerball win

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 enroute 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).

“It can’t be just coincidence,” Gubicza told 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.”

We won’t know just how the winner from Dearborn picked the numbers until Friday morning when a press conference is scheduled by lottery officials at the high school in Dearborn.

“I know one thing,” Gubicza said.” ‘Bo Knows Lotteries.’ Why else would his number be in there, too?”

Each Powerball winner from Wednesday, if they take the lump sump payout, will get about $192 million – likely more than all the Royals Hall of Famers made collectively during their careers.

“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 some one 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, Az., which is only about a 30-minute drive east of Surprise, where the Royals have spring training.

“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.”