Tommy John Surgeries Between 1974 – 1999
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DR. FRANK JOBE, who will turn 87 in the summer of 2012, is a renowned orthopedic surgeon who revolutionized the medical care and prolonged the careers of baseball pitchers with his groundbreaking tendon transplant procedure now known as the “Tommy John” surgery.
In 1974, Dodgers pitcher TOMMY JOHN was diagnosed with a torn ligament in his left (pitching) elbow, apparently ending his career.
In an experimental surgery, which he estimated at the time as having 1% odds for a successful outcome, Jobe transplanted a tendon from John’s right forearm to his left elbow.
Tommy John Surgeries List from 2000 – 2013 here.
What is Tommy John Surgery?
After more than a year of rehabilitation, John and his bionic arm returned to the mound, where he pitched for 14 more seasons and racked up 164 of his 288 career victories before retiring at the age of 46.
Today, the procedure is commonplace among professional and amateur pitchers.
It has been estimated that Jobe performed more than 1,000 Tommy John surgeries himself and that nearly 200 major leaguers – not all of them pitchers – have had their careers extended by the procedure.
In a recent interview with Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News, Jobe discussed how he and John decided to proceed with the surgery, thus establishing a relationship of trust between doctor and patient: “Tommy happened to be in my office talking, and we already had told him about all the potential complications.
I was ready to sign his papers for retirement. I wasn’t even sure I should have brought [the operation idea] up in our conversation. I had no idea if it would be successful. I really wasn’t sure.
We got to a point where we kind of looked at each other and he said, ‘That makes sense, let’s do it.’ I think those were the three words that changed the course of baseball medicine for the rest of time. ‘Let’s do it.’”
After a long and grueling rehabilitation, John returned to the mound with the Dodgers in 1976, completing 207 innings, recording 10 wins with a 3.09 ERA, and receiving both the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award and the Fred Hutchinson Award for Outstanding Character and Courage.
That he was a better pitcher after the experimental surgery was fully evident by 1977, as John won 20 games with a 2.78 ERA, earning him a second-place finish to Steve Carlton in Cy Young Award balloting.
Reliquarian Michael Fallon, in his biographical profile of Tommy John for the Society for American Baseball Research, noted that the pitcher revolutionized “athlete’s attitudes toward medicine.
With 164 of his 288 victories coming after the surgery, John shattered the barrier that said players could not play after undergoing surgery.”
Fallon added that, despite having the most wins of any eligible pitcher not inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, John’s “pioneering gumption, his ability to endure and come back from adversity does put him among baseball’s all-time elite.”
The two figures made medical history nearly 40 years ago.
This is just the 1st installment of this new segment we are doing. Each week we will pick off a year from 2000 – all the way to current.
You can always view our TJ Surgery Tracker Page here.
Once we are done that phase, we will track back to each players before and after results in a TJ Surgery Player profile.
If the players have gone under the knife a second or 3rd time, we will let you know the successes or failures of each guy.
This is not going away fans..
Tom Gordon – Royals Dec.12, 1999
Todd Coffey – Reds: Aug 1999
Seth Greisinger – Tigers:
Rocky Biddle – Rockies: Mar.2/1999
Paul Wilson – Mets:
Mitch Wylie – White Sox:
Nate Bland – Dodgers:
Matt Morris – Cardinals
Matt Beech – Phillies: Sept.21/1999 (2nd TJ Surgery)
Kerry Lightenberg - Braves:
Jimmy Journell – Cardinals:
Joe Nelson – Diamondbacks – August 1999
Kerry Wood – Cubs: March 1999
Brian Falkenborg – Orioles: Jan 1999
Chad Fox – Cubs: July 1999 (2nd TJ Surgery)
Jason Isringhausen – Mets 1998
Cory Lidle – Diamondbacks: Jan 1998
Damian Moss – Braves: Jan 1998
Nate Robertson – Tigers
Jason Frasor – Blue Jays: 1998
Lorenzo Barcelo – White Sox: Sept 1998
Matt Beech – Phillies: Sept 1998
Rheal Cormier – Expos
Eric Gagne – Dodgers,
Colby Lewis – Rangers, 1997
Britt Reames- Cardinals: 1997
Billy Koch – Blue Jays: 1997
Cal Eldred – Cardinals: 1997
Winston Abreu: 1997
Victor Zambrano – Rays:
Steve Sparks – Brewers:
Paul Wagner – Pirates:
Pedro Borbon – Braves: Aug 1996
John Snyder – White Sox: July.24 1996
Steve Ontiveros – Athletics: June.13 1996
Chad Fox – Cubs: 1996
Jason Bere – White Sox: Sept 1996
Dewon Brazelton – Rays: 1996
Lance Carter – Royals:
Darren Dreifort – Dodgers: 1995
Scott Schoeneweis: 1994
Jose Canseco – Rangers: July 9, 1993
Mike Bielecki – Braves: August 2, 1992
John Farrell – Cleveland: 1991
Steve Ontiveros - Phillies: July 1989
Jimmy Key – Blue Jays:
Matt Young – Padres:
Steve Christmas – Cubs:
Jim Morris – Brewers:
David Wells – Jays: April
Brent Strom – Padres:
Tommy John Surgeries List from 2000 – 2013 here.
Tommy John- Dodgers: September 25, 1974 (Dr. Frank Jobe performed first operation)
For all the talk of baseball players (pitchers mostly) that will be undergoing Tommy John Surgery, we will be keeping a running list!
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any names to add to our totals. How many players are having TJ? You are about to find out:
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Posted on December 20, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged Billy Koch, Brent Strom, brian falkenborg, britt reames, cal eldred, cory lidle, damian moss, darren dreifort, david wells, eric gagne, frank jobe, fred hutchison, jason bere, Jason Frasor, jason isringhausen, jim morris, jimmy journell, JImmy Key, joe nelson, john snyder, jose canseco, kenny rogers, kerry lightenberg, kerry wood, la daily news, lorenzo barcelo, matt beech, Matt Young, mike bielecki, mitch wylie, nate bland, Nate Robertson, paul wagner, Paul Wilson, rheal cormier, rocky biddle, scott schoeneweis, seth greisinger, steve carlton, steve christmas, steve ontiveros, steve sparks, todd coffey, tom gordon, tom hoffarth, tommy john, tommy john surgeries 1974 - 1999, Tommy John Surgery, victor zambrano, winston abreu. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.