An 8 foot tall bronze statue of former New York Yankee Cory Lidle was vandalized and dismantled this past weekend. The vandals attempted to steal the statue, but were unable to remove the half ton tribute to the former pitcher. The statue which depicted Lidle in his New York Yankees uniform was commissioned by and stood in West Covina, California, Lidle's hometown.
West Covina Mayor, Steve Herfert had this to say:
"This is a memorial to Cory Lidle, who grew up here in West Covina. It's very disturbing. What a senseless act. It stuns me how someone can do something like that to a beautiful statue like that. It's a horrible act of vandalism and I hope they catch the people that did this."
The theft took place between 1 am and 6 am Friday morning at the Big League Dreams sports complex. The statue was valued at about $100,000. The metal itself is worth about $7,000, with copper the main component in bronze scrapping for about $3.27 a pound. The thieves did make off with three metal plaques that were part of the tribute to Lidle. It appeared that the vandals used heavy duty tools to cut into the bronze statue, but were unable to make off with it and just left it toppled over, according to police Lt. Dennis Patton. Police told local recyclers to be on the lookout for the three plaques. "While it remained unclear if the badly damaged statue could be repaired, it's never going to be the same," said West Covina police spokesman, Rudy Lopez.
"The community will rally around. We will repair, replace or whatever we have to do. I promise our residents, this act of vandalism will not deter us from our goal of fulfilling dreams at our Big League Dreams facility. The statue will be repaired and we will be stronger in our resolve to stop crime and vandalism," added Mayor Herfert.
Big League Dreams Executive Director, John Giambi said that this was "disheartening" and "discouraging'. Giambi is the father of former Yankee, Jason Giambi who was longtime friends with Lidle. "It's dissapointing that someone in the community would have the disrespect to do it. It's about pride. It's about the community. It's about what the city has done," Giambi added. He estimated that 300,000 to 400,000 visitors have passed by the statue each year, since it's installation in 2007.
Lidle starred at West Hills High School in West Covina as a youth. He was drafted by the Minnesota Twins and played for 10 years in the big leagues. Lidle died on October 26, 2006 when an airplane he was piloting crashed into the Belaire apartments on York Ave and East 72nd street, on the Upper East Side in New York City. The Yankees wore black armbands for the entire 2007 season, in tribute to Lidle.
Photo credit: West Covina Police Department
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