10/11/06 9:44 PM ET
Phillies recall friend's passions
Onetime teammate, Lidle remembered for zest
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
His other passions were baseball, golf and poker. Whenever his son ran around the clubhouse, the two had a routine."What's your favorite hand in poker?" Lidle would ask. "Pocket Aces," Christopher Lidle quickly replied, to his father's pleasure. Because of his willingness to cooperate with the media, Lidle sometimes got himself into trouble, but that never stopped him from being accountable, affable and forthright. He simply didn't mind stating his opinion. "He was a broadcaster's dream because he was one of those guys who if you needed him, you could always go to him," announcer Chris Wheeler said on Comcast SportsNet. "He was a nice guy to be around in the couple of years he was with us." The joy of flying a plane oozed from Lidle every time the subject came up. He spoke in July of his interest to pitch on the West Coast, and how convenient it would be to fly around to various cities in California. Despite the obvious thrill-seeking implications, Lidle took to the air as a way of bringing him closer to his family. Once Christopher got old enough, Lidle hoped to take him up more often. "It's almost like when you're 16 getting your license, you can go to the mall whenever you want," Lidle said, in July. "This is pretty much that same feeling, maybe times 100 because you go just about anywhere you want. To be up in the air looking down on the ground is a pretty cool feeling. I love being in a plane and looking down and seeing traffic on the freeway." "I'll always remember Cory as a loving father first and a great teammate second," said Shane Victorino, who lockered near Lidle. "He was a soft-spoken and humble guy who was always there for his teammates, especially the younger players." On the field, Lidle was a cerebral pitcher. He wasn't blessed with a 96-mph fastball, or a devastating curveball. He attacked hitters' weaknesses, because he knew he couldn't blow anything by anyone. Coming up with a game plan was paramount, and that often drew admiration from his coaches. "Absolutely," Dubee said. "There are a lot of pitchers out there with better fastballs, better curveballs and better changeups, but he learned how to use all of his repertoire to the best of his ability." One of Lidle's season highlights came on June 20. He faced the Yankees that day, and allowed a homer to his former high-school teammate, Jason Giambi. The team's loss and Lidle's individual performance didn't matter. He was thrilled because Jim Bastion -- who coached both for South Hills High School in West Covina, Calif. -- was there to see it, and was proud of both of them. In describing a perfect day with his new hobby, Lidle always offered what now seems like a cryptic response. "Stick the landing, walk away and it's a good day," he said.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.