What They’re Saying: Frank Jobe

Dr. Frank Jobe, who pioneered and perfected a surgery that saved the careers of many pitchers, died Thursday in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 88.

Jobe revolutionized elbow injury recoveries when, in 1974, he replaced the torn medial collateral ligament in Tommy John's elbow with one from John's forearm. That surgery, of course, became known as Tommy John surgery and the list of pitchers who have undergone the procedure and returned as effective major leaguers includes A. J. Burnett, Chris Carpenter, Tim Hudson, Francisco Liriano, Joe Nathan, John Smoltz, Stephen Strasburg, Billy Wagner, David Wells, Brian Wilson and Matt Harvey.

Encompassed here is a selection of the reaction and tributes for Jobe.


“Baseball lost a great man and Tommy John lost a great friend. There are a lot of pitchers in baseball who should celebrate his life and what he did for the game of baseball.” — Tommy John

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Dr. Frank Jobe, a great gentleman whose work in baseball revolutionized sports medicine. Since 1974, his groundbreaking Tommy John surgery revitalized countless careers, especially those of our pitchers. His wisdom elevated not only the Dodgers, the franchise he served proudly for a half century, but all of our clubs.” — Commissioner Bud Selig

"He allowed me to still have a functional left arm. And it took, I just didn't have—Tommy had the advantage of already having action on the ball. I was more of kind of a straight fastball-curveball kind of guy, and obviously, I wasn't as talented as Tommy John, so Tommy was able to take it forward. It's probably a good thing it's called Tommy John surgery and not Brent Strom surgery. Tommy John wins 288 and I win 22. So it depends on which surgery you get, I guess." — Former major league pitcher Brent Strom, who was the second major leaguer to have the surgery.

"Tommy John surgery was the most dramatic change in the history of baseball. Dr. Jobe doesn’t get the credit he deserves for the genius of the procedure or the careers he saved. Doctors today still haven’t caught up. Sports medicine and the game of baseball owe Dr. Jobe more than I can say. " — Reds team doctor, Dr. Tim Kremchek

See also: Hall of Fame recognizes Jobe


Orel Hershiser (Tommy John surgery in 1990)

Tigers pitcher Joba Chamberlain ( Tommy John surgery in 2011)

Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson (Tommy John surgery in 2003)

Former major leaguer Dan Plesac