TIME Baseball

Doctor Behind ‘Tommy John’ Surgery Dies

Frank Jobe
Dr. Frank Jobe, known for the development of the historic elbow procedure known as “Tommy John surgery,” is honored during a ceremony at Doubleday Field, in Cooperstown, N.Y. Mike Groll—AP

The innovative operation saved countless pitchers' careers

Frank Jobe, the doctor behind the pioneering “Tommy John” surgery that salvaged numerous professional and amateur pitchers’ careers, died this week, reports the Associated Press. He was 88.

In 1974, Jobe was the first physician to successfully complete the ground-breaking surgery on Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tommy John, which involved transplanting muscle ligaments to repair torn collateral ligaments in the elbow.

The operation revolutionized sports medicine and has since become a common treatment for pitchers, who are predisposed to the injury.

“His wisdom elevated not only the Dodgers, the franchise he served proudly for a half-century, but all of our clubs,” said Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig in a statement. “Dr. Jobe’s expertise, as well as his enthusiasm to mentor his peers, made the national pastime stronger.”

[AP]

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