Ex-Royals equipment manager Zych dies in car accident

KANSAS CITY -- Al Zych, longtime equipment manager of the Kansas City Royals, died on Monday as a result of a two-vehicle accident near the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.

Zych, 87, was the Royals' equipment manager from 1968-88. Earlier, he was equipment manager for the Athletics in Kansas City and Oakland. Players regarded him as a father figure, confidant and friend.

He lived in Olathe, Kan., and frequently took part in Royals alumni events at Kauffman Stadium.

Born in Kansas City, Kan., Zych signed with the Yankees as a pitcher in 1945 at age 18. He played seven years in the Minor Leagues with the Yankees, Red Sox and White Sox organizations. In '51, he had a 22-9 record for Kinston, N.C., an unaffiliated team in the Class D Coastal Plain League.

Zych also was a basketball and football official for high school and college sports leagues.

A funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m. CT on Saturday at Christ the King Catholic Church, 3024 N. 53rd St., Kansas City, Kan., preceded by visitation at 9 a.m. CT.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.