Lidle's death hits hard

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 5:06 AM ET

NEW YORK -- Four days ago New York Yankees right-hander Cory Lidle cleaned out his locker.

He spoke about the season, his hobby of flying and how he had pilot's licence.

And how flying a plane was safer than driving a car.

Lidle loved to take off from the Teterboro, N.J., airport, fly over the Hudson River circle the Statue of Liberty, head up the East River. He and his plane did that yesterday.

His plane fell off the radar at about 59th Street and crashed into a 50-story skyscraper in Manhattan.

Lidle broke in with the New York Mets in 1997, pitched for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Oakland A's, going 13-6 in 2001 and 8-10 the next season. The Blue Jays acquired him for two minor leaguers and he made 31 starts going 12-15 with a 5.75 earned run average in 2003.

After signing with the Cincinnati Reds, he was dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2005 and this season to the Yankees. He had an 82-72 career record and was about to enter free agency.

"We were on the way to the field -- on the bus -- a couple of guys said their agents called and said it was him," said St. Louis Cardinals righty Mark Mulder before last night's Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the New York Mets was rained out.

Mulder and Lidle were teammates with the A's and Mulder said the news gave him "goosebumps." Not the good kind.

"We were real good friends, we played golf together on the road when he was in Philly and in St Louis," Mulder said. "When he got traded, I talked to him for a minute ... 'good luck, blah blah blah.' That was last time I talked to him.

"I can't imagine what it's like for his son. I feel terrible."

Lidle was a replacement player in 1995 and was one of nine active this season. Naturally most had a chip on their shoulder. They were not allowed in the union. Management had told them they either played in spring games or they would be released.

Lidle zinged Barry Bonds the day before the San Francisco Giants arrived in Philadelphia saying he didn't respect the sluggers records because of alleged steroid use. A number of players thought it would have carried more weight had Lidle been facing the Giants in the series. He wasn't.

"Cory Lidle was a very hard worker and was very competitive," said Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson, who coached Lidle in Oakland.

"I always felt like he wanted the ball in big situations. He had a couple great years for us," Peterson said. "He was in the top 10 in ERA, helped us in pennant races and I think he had 40 consecutive scoreless when we needed it most."

Peterson heard the news walking through the clubhouse and it stopped him in his tracks.

He was headed to Tom Glavine's locker to go over the Cardinals' hitters tendencies.

"All the stations have it on, I think the building that got hit is Manny Acta's," Peterson said of the Mets third base coach. "You realize how insignificant -- I don't want to diminish how proud we are to be in the playoffs -- but you certainly take a step back and realize how important it really truly is.

"I'm normally not at a loss of words but I am right now. You feel like your soul is just totally bruised right now."

With emotions as they were, maybe it was a good thing last night's opener was rained out.


Videos

Photos