Lidle's wife, son to throw out first pitch

Lidle's wife, son to throw out first pitch

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees will open their 2007 season with a ceremonial tribute to the late Cory Lidle, a right-handed pitcher who died in a plane crash last Oct. 11 in New York City.

Lidle's wife, Melanie, and son, Christopher, are scheduled to throw the ceremonial first pitches before the Opening Day game against the Devil Rays on April 2, the team announced Thursday.

Also in attendance for the ceremonies will be Lidle's parents, Doug and Lisa, and his twin brother, Kevin.

"It's going to be very emotional, I'm sure," manager Joe Torre said. "When you say goodbye to everybody at the end of the year, you're assuming you're going to see them the next year.

"Even if Cory wasn't in our clubhouse, the fact is he was going to be somewhere pitching. That's tough stuff, when you lose someone so young and so quickly."

Lidle was acquired last July 30 with outfielder Bobby Abreu from the Philadelphia Phillies in a six-player transaction. He appeared in 10 games for New York, going 4-3 with a 5.16 ERA, plus one game of the American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers.

An avid aviator, Lidle had planned a cross-country flight home to California. He and a 26-year-old flight instructor, Tyler Stanger, took off from New Jersey's Teterboro Airport on Oct. 11 in what appeared to have been a brief sightseeing excursion.

Both were killed when Lidle's single-engine Cirrus SR-20 plane crashed into an Upper East Side apartment building.

Lidle pitched 277 games in the Major Leagues over nine seasons with seven different clubs, compiling a career record of 82-72.

In addition to the ceremonial first pitch, the Yankees also plan to have the West Point Color Guard present the colors of the United States flag. A stadium flyover by two U.S. Navy F-18s, piloted by the Strike Fighter Squadron 34 (the Blue Blasters), is scheduled.

The Yankees said that a West Point soloist will perform the national anthem. Irish tenor Ronan Tynan, a familiar face at Yankee Stadium for several years, will perform "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.