Before Thursday night’s 14-inning victory, 2-1, over Cleveland, the Kansas City Royals honored one of their former behind-the-scenes figures.
Al Zych, who grew up in Kansas City, Kan., was the Kansas City Athletics equipment manager from 1963 until the team departed for Oakland four years later. Zych then became the Royals equipment manager from the franchise’s first year in 1969 until 1988.
George Brett called Zych one of his best friends during his Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech in 1999.
“I would like to thank him for treating me with such respect as an 18-year old kid in his first big league camp,” said Brett at the time in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Zych died in a two-vehicle accident just before the All-Star game near the Lake of the Ozarks. The Royals paid tribute to him before last night’s series opener with a moment of silence.
Zych was 87.