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Cory Lidle
Cory Lidle
Starting pitcher
Batted: Right Threw: Right
Born: March 22 1972

died = October 11, 2006 (aged 34) debutteam=New York Mets

MLB Debut
May 8, 1997 for the {{{debutteam}}}
Final game
October 7, 2006 for the New York Yankees
Career Statistics
Lifetime Record     82-72
ERA     4.57
Strikeouts     838
Career Highlights and Awards
  • 2001: 10th in AL with 3.59 ERA
  • August 2002: AL Pitcher of the Month
  • 2002: Pitched 32.2 consecutive scoreless innings and 43 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run
  • 2004: Tied for NL lead with 3 shutouts and tied for second with 5 complete games

Cory Fulton Lidle (March 22, 1972October 11, 2006) was an American right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball. He played for seven different teams in his nine-season career, last playing for the New York Yankees.[1]

Only four days after the Yankees were eliminated from the 2006 postseason, the 34-year-old Lidle was killed when the small aircraft he owned crashed into a residential building in New York City.[1]

Personal life[]

Lidle was born in Hollywood, California to Doug and Lisa Lidle.[2] Lidle was related to engineer and inventor Robert Fulton.[3] His twin brother Kevin Lidle played minor league baseball primarily as a catcher. They attended South Hills High School in West Covina, California, graduating in 1990, and were high school teammates of Jason Giambi.

Lidle married Melanie Varela on January 7, 1997; the pair had one son, Christopher (born in 2000). Cory, Melanie, and Christopher resided in Glendora, California at the time of Lidle's death.

Baseball career[]

Lidle was signed in 1990 by the Minnesota Twins as an amateur free agent. After his release in 1993, he was signed by the Milwaukee Brewers. Lidle was then traded in 1996 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 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 2001 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 2002, 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.[4]

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 final game (Game 4 of the 2006 ALDS), Lidle pitched 113 innings, allowing 3 earned runs on 4 hits. The New York Yankees lost the game to the Detroit Tigers 8-3.


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," Lidle said. "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."

In response former teammate Arthur Rhodes said, "He is a scab. When he started, he would go five-and-a-third innings and (the bullpen) would have to win the game for him. The only thing Cory Lidle wants to do is fly around in his airplane and gamble. He doesn't have a work ethic. After every start, he didn't run or lift weights. He would sit in the clubhouse and eat ice cream. ... He shouldn't say that, he shouldn't say anything like that because he is a scab. He crossed the line when guys like me, Flash and Lieberthal were playing. He is a replacement player."[5]

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 talk radio show Mike and the Mad Dog and gave an extended defense of himself and the Yankees.[6] Following reports of Lidle's death, Chris Russo and Mike Francesa, hosts of the popular New York radio show, expressed remorse for their previous hostility to Lidle.


Main article: October 11, 2006 New York City plane crash

On October 11 2006, a Cirrus SR20 plane (reportedly pending registration to Cory Lidle[7]) crashed into the Belaire Apartments complex on York Ave. at E. 72nd Street on New York City's Upper East Side, killing Cory Lidle and co-pilot/flight instructor, Tyler Stanger.[8] 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.

The plane took off from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and was seen twice circling the Statue of Liberty before it flew up the East River. It was reported to have lost radar contact around 56th Street and crashed just north of 72nd Street after attempting to make a u-turn. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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.[9] On October 12, 2006, at the 2006 NLCS game in New York City between the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals, the teams and spectators observed a moment of silence to honor the memory of Lidle. [10]

In addition to the deaths of the two on board the plane, twenty-one people were injured as a result of the accident, about half of them New York City firefighters.

Lidle had talked to teammates earlier and told them he would be flying home to California, but would take a sightseeing trip around Manhattan before he left.

Lidle had learned to fly in an intensive bout of study with Stanger between the 2005 and 2006 seasons, after he had observed how easy this would make travel in the Southwestern United States.

Although Lidle was covered by the players' association's benefit plan, there is an exclusion for "any incident related to travel in an aircraft... while acting in any capacity other than as a passenger". The accidental death benefit is reportedly 1 million dollars. [11]

His death makes him the second Yankees player to die in a crash of a plane owned by the player, the first being Thurman Munson on August 2 1979. In an interview shortly before his death, he 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 and passengers in a crash landing. It is reported that the parachute was not deployed.

Two days after Lidle's crash, on October 13 2006, Lidle's Yankees teammate Alex Rodriguez was a passenger aboard a private jet that slid off the runway in Burbank, California at Bob Hope Airport. No one was injured and the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident. [12]

See also[]

  • List of Major League Baseball replacement players


External links[]