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Pool Pro Robles Mourns Loss of Friend Lidle in NYC Plane Crash
Oct 11, 2006, 4:21 PM

NEW YORK CITY While all New Yorkers were glued to their TV sets Wednesday evening to hear news of the Manhattan plane crash that killed New York Yankee Cory Lidle, one member of the New York billiard community was especially hard hit.

Pool pro Tony Robles had developed a close friendship with Lidle over the last two months, and gave him free lessons at Amsterdam Billiard Club, where Robles is a house pro. Robles and Lidle would play together three or four times a week, and the Yankee pitcher had invited Robles to be his guest at Yankee games.

He was one of the nicest, most genuine guys I ever met, Robles told BD on Wednesday afternoon, as he watched TV coverage of the crash from Amsterdam Billiard Club. I cant believe it. Im numb right now.

A small fixed-wing aircraft registered to Lidle crashed into the 30th floor of a high-rise condominium tower on the Upper East Side of Manhattan Wednesday afternoon, showering the city with debris from what witnesses reported was a gigantic fireball and killing the plane's two passengers.

Aviation officials confirmed that Lidle was on board the plane. While the cause of the crash was not immediately known, there was no evidence to suggest that the crash was intentional.

Robles had last seen Lidle on Monday, when he announced that he was leaving New York to fly home on Wednesday.

Lidle was an excellent amateur player who could run racks easily, Robles said. They would play for hours at a time, and once played until 4:30 a.m. the morning after one of the Yankees pitching starts.

Also an amateur pilot, Lidle had asked Robles about a month ago if he wanted to fly in his plane. Robles politely declined.

I said, You know, I have nothing against you, but Im very picky about planes, and I dont like small planes. I leave that to the professionals, Robles said.