Tommy John Surgeries Between 1974 – 1999

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): & Website Founder Jonathan Hacohen 

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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?

David Wells was only the 3rd Player to have Tommy John Surgery in 1984.  Remarkably, he holds the records for Wins (239) and Innings Pitched (3439 IP) after doing the procedure.  Obviously these records will be shattered by somebody else, but Wells foraged a great Career

David Wells was only the 3rd Player to have Tommy John Surgery in 1985. Remarkably, he holds the records for Wins (239) and Innings Pitched (3439 IP) after doing the procedure. Obviously these records will be shattered by somebody else, but Wells foraged a great Career with several different teams.  “Boomer’ was best in New York City, where he was 68 – 28 (.708) with a 3.90 ERA – and his team went to World Series in 2 of the 4 years he pitched there.  Wells saved his best for the playoffs, where he was 10 – 5, with a 3.17 ERA (almost a full run behind his 4.13 Career ERA).  Wells started out with the Blue Jays in the Bullpen, where he gradually worked his way into being a Starter.  He ended up with a nice 17 year (also a TJ record) stint in the MLB, all made possible by having his UCL replaced.

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:


Kenny Rogers


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 if you have any names to add to our totals. How many players are having TJ? You are about to find out:

For all of the Rosters, Depth Charts, State of the Unions and Salaries Posts that we do, please visit our dedicated page link here.

***Chuck Booth – Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner and author of the Fastest 30 Ballgames:  

To learn more about my  “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book” and how to purchase it, click here .

You can also follow my Guinness Book of World Record Successful Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 Days – click here

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Booth (Left - Owner Of MLB Reports) and Hacohen (Website Founder)

Booth (Left – Owner Of MLB Reports) and Hacohen ( Right Website Founder) at SkyDome April 15/2012.

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the . In 2015, I watched 224 MLB Games, spanning all 30 MLB Parks in 183 Days. Read about that World Record Journey at

Posted on December 20, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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