Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle was killed when his small plane – a Cirrus SR20 – crashed into a high-rise condominium this afternoon on Manhattan’s East Side. Also killed was his flight instructor. Several firefighters and policemen were injured in the blaze, as was the resident of the condominium into which the plane crashed.
Lidle had taken off from Teteboro Airport in New Jersey arounf 2:30 p.m., circled around the Statue of Liberty and was heading up the East River when the aircraft, which was owned by Lidle, appeared to veer out of control, according to witnessess. Lidle had been flying for more than a year.
He joined the Yankees two months ago and 4-3 in 9 starts. The Yankees were his seventh team in nine major-league seasons. His impact was minimal but I will recall him as one of the few Yankees who offered an honest assessment of the team’s upset loss to the Tigers in the first round of the NLDS.
“We got taken by surprise,” he said. “We got matched up with a team that was a little bit more ready to play than we were. We were all pretty surprised how not ready we were for that series. I don’t think we took the Tigers for granted, I just think they were up for it a little more than we were. They were fighting tooth and nail down to the last game of the season. We clinched pretty early. Maybe we were in cruise control a little bit too much.”
Some were critical of his comments. But I thought Lidle had every right to speak his piece and that he offered us a rare inside view of a team whose “corporate” tenor typically offers nothing enlightening. What he said took guts.
I was in Manhattan this afternoon and watched a parade of police cars speed down 42d street, to what I did not know then. Yes, 9/11 briefly crossed my mind. But as other New Yorkers went about their day, I allowed the moment to pass.
Prayers and thoughts to Cory Lidle and his family – his wife nd six-year-old son live in California – as well as the family of the instructor who also died in that plane today.