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Cory Fulton Lidle (March 22, 1972October 11, 2006) was an Americanmarkerright-handed baseball pitcher who spent nine seasons in the major leagues with seven different teams. He has a twin brother, Kevin Lidle, who was a catcher for several minor league teams. He is a descendant of Robert Fulton, the inventor of the steamboat, as reflected in his middle name.

Lidle was killed when the small aircraft he owned crashed into a residential buildingmarker in New York Citymarker.

Baseball career

Lidle was signed in by the Minnesota Twins as an amateur free agent. After his release in , he was signed by the Milwaukee Brewers. Lidle was then traded in to the New York Mets, and made his Major League debut for the Mets on May 8, 1997. Due to his participation as a replacement player during the 1994 Major League Baseball strike, he was not eligible to join the MLB Players Union. Lidle later appeared for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays, Cincinnati Reds, and Philadelphia Phillies. His best season was when he went 13-6 with a 3.59 ERA (10th in the American League) for Oakland, helping the Athletics win the wild card. His career zenith occurred in August , when Lidle gave up one run during the whole month (setting Oakland's consecutive innings without an earned run record), won all five of his starts, and was one of the primary drivers in the A's historic run of 20 straight wins. It was on this Oakland team where he earned the nickname "Snacks", for his apparent love of consuming junk food in the bullpen, to the extent of it being called "inhaling".

In , Lidle was inducted into the Binghamton Baseball Shrine. He played for the Double-A Binghamton Mets (New York Mets).

As a Yankee

On July 30, 2006, Lidle was traded along with outfielder Bobby Abreu from the Philadelphia Phillies to the New York Yankees for minor league shortstop C. J. Henry, the Yankees' first round pick in the 2005 draft, along with left-handed reliever Matt Smith, minor league catcher Jesus Sanchez, and minor league right-hander Carlos Monasterios. In his first start for the Yankees, Lidle pitched six innings, giving up one run on four hits, en route to an 8-1 Yankee victory, a sweep against the Toronto Blue Jays. On August 21, 2006, Lidle pitched six three-hit shutout innings, completing an improbable five-game sweep (in four days) over the then-second place Boston Red Sox (who went from 1½ games behind to 6½ games behind).

Sadly, in his final game (Game 4 of the 2006 ALDS), Lidle pitched 1.1 innings, allowing 3 earned runs on 4 hits. The New York Yankees lost the game to the Detroit Tigers 8-3.

Controversies

After being traded by the Philadelphia Phillies in July 2006 at the trade deadline, Lidle criticized his former team: "On the days I'm pitching, it's almost a coin flip as to know if the guys behind me are going to be there to play 100 percent." He noted he was joining a Yankees team that expects to win all the time: "That's why I'm most excited about it. Sometimes I felt I got caught up kind of going into the clubhouse nonchalantly sometimes, because all of the other guys in the clubhouse didn't go there with one goal in mind."

After losing to the Detroit Tigers in the 2006 ALDS, he was criticized for telling a reporter, "We got matched up with a team that, I think, was a little more ready to play than we were," which was taken by some as a jab at manager Joe Torre. In his defense, he called up the radio talk show Mike and the Mad Dog and gave an extended defense of himself and the Yankees. The snippy exchange was punctuated by co-host Chris Russo's implication that Lidle was not entitled to "enjoy a day in New York" and co-host Mike Francesa commenting, "I haven't thought much about you at all, to be honest with you." Following reports of Lidle's death, both hosts of the popular New York radio show expressed remorse for their previous hostility to Lidle.

Scouting report

Lidle threw a 88-90 mph fastball with cut and sink. He threw a low 70s curveball to keep hitters off balance, as well as a low 80s slider. Lidle was a finesse pitcher who had to rely on changing speeds and hitting location.

Death

On October 11, 2006, a Cirrus SR20 plane (reportedly pending registration to Cory Lidle) crashed into the Belaire Apartmentsmarker complex on York Ave. at E. 72nd Street on New York City's Upper East Sidemarker, killing Cory Lidle and co-pilot/flight instructor, Tyler Stanger. All Cirrus Design SR-20 planes have dual controls; therefore, it is currently unknown whether Lidle or Stanger was piloting the aircraft at the time of the crash. In addition to the deaths of the two on board the plane, 21 people were injured as a result of the accident, about half of them New York City firefighters.

The plane took off from Teterboro Airportmarker in New Jersey and was seen twice circling the Statue of Libertymarker before it flew up the East Rivermarker. It was reported to have lost radar contact around the 59th Street bridge and crashed just north of 72nd Street after attempting to make a U-turn. NTSB preliminary reports indicate that a 13-knot crosswind may have been a factor in the crash, requiring him to make a tighter than normal turn to safely avoid obstacles. On May 1, 2007, it was determined that a "pilot error" caused the plane crash that killed Lidle and his flight instructor Tyler Stanger. NTSB concurred that Lidle's rate of turn was too low when making the U-turn, causing his plane to hit the side of the NYC apartment building instead of merely flying near it.

It was concluded that it cannot be confirmed who was actually flying the plane at the time of the crash.

Lidle was the third Yankees player to die in a crash of a plane owned by the player. The preceding two were catcher Thurman Munson (died August 2, 1979) and pitcher Jim Hardin (died March 9, 1991). In an interview shortly before his death, Lidle responded to concerns about player-pilots, like Munson, by insisting that his plane was safe, being equipped with a parachute for the entire plane. The SR20 includes the Cirrus Aircraft Parachute System, which is designed to help save the crew in case of an in-flight loss of aircraft control, but offers only minimal protection against controlled flight into terrain. It is reported that the parachute was not deployed, nor would it have prevented this type of accident.

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner described Lidle's death as a "terrible and shocking tragedy that has stunned the entire Yankees organization" and offered his condolences to Lidle's wife and 6-year-old son. On October 12, 2006, before the 2006 NLCS game in New York City between the New York Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals, the teams and spectators observed a moment of silence to honor the memory of Lidle.

The Yankees wore black armbands during the 2007 season in memory of Lidle. On April 2, 2007, Cory's widow Melanie, and his son Christopher both threw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day at Yankee Stadiummarker. Melanie Lidle attended the 2007 graduation ceremony at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Californiamarker. The community college's aviation team flew across the graduation field during the ceremony to pay respect to both Lidle and Stanger.

Lidle is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park - Covina Hills, In Covina, California.

One of the baseball fields at West Covina's Cortez Park is named "Cory Lidle Field" in memoriam.

See also



References

  1. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2621860
  2. Yankees' Lidle killed in plane crash
  3. Michael Urban, "Chavez clutch in A's 17th straight" from MLB.com, 31 August 2002.
  4. Associated Press, "Lidle pitches in Yankees sweep from Boston.com, 4 August 2006.
  5. ESPN Wire Services, "Yanks finish Boston beatdown, sweep five-game series" from ESPN.com, 21 August 2006.
  6. Associated Press, "Lidle backs off criticism, but Rhodes keeps firing" from ESPN.com, 2 August 2006.
  7. Tyler Kepner, "Lidle Had Passion for Flying, and for Speaking His Mind" from the New York Times, 12 October 2006.
  8. Neil Best, "Francesa feels haunted by Lidle interview" from Newsday, 12 October 2006.
  9. Andrew Marchand, "Interview got ugly" from the New York Post, 12 October 2006.
  10. FAA Registry
  11. FAA: Plane Registered To Yankees' Pitcher Lidle, WCBS-TV, accessDAYSed October 11 2006
  12. Yankees pitcher killed in crash of small plane in Manhattan - CNN.com
  13. NTSB Advisory
  14. Investigators go over Lidle crash scene, Hajela, Deepti, Associated Press. October 12 2006
  15. ALCS Game 3 on Friday afternoon; NLCS Game 2 at night, Associated Press. October 12 2006.


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