Tommy John Remembers Dr. Jobe, 'One Of The Greatest Surgeons' | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Tommy John Remembers Dr. Jobe, 'One Of The Greatest Surgeons'

Play associated audio

His name is attached to a surgery that has saved many major league pitchers' careers.

But Tommy John knows that's an honor he came by thanks in large part to good luck.

"Fortunately for me, I was at the right place at the right time," he told All Things Considered host Melissa Block on Friday. "I happened to have one of the greatest surgeons of all time being the surgeon for the Los Angeles Dodgers."

That would be Dr. Frank Jobe, who died Thursday at the age of 88.

It was Sept. 25, 1974, when Jobe took a tendon from John's forearm and used it to repair John's left elbow. The Dodgers pitcher, a left-hander, had ruptured his medial collateral ligament — an injury that at the time meant the end for any pitcher's major league career.

Jobe told him, John says, that the chances of his ever pitching again were "less than 5 percent." But a year later, John was throwing again in an instructional league game. He would go on to pitch for 14 more seasons in the big leagues, compiling a career record of 288 wins to 231 losses. After the Dodgers, he pitched for the then-California Angels and the New York Yankees.

While he was lucky to have Jobe as his surgeon, John also believes the surgeon was lucky to have a stubborn athlete as a patient. John was more than willing to have the surgery and to do the rehabilitation work that followed.

As for his friend, anyone who met Jobe, says John, "would think he was just some mild-mannered person from Greensboro, N.C."

Jobe would say, his most famous patient remembers, " 'I'm not a great surgeon, but I have the best patients in the world.' "

Much more from John's conversation about Jobe is due on Friday's edition of All Things Considered. Click here to find an NPR station that broadcasts or streams the show.

For much more about "Tommy John surgery," a good place to start is this package of stories from the Los Angeles Times' Bleacher Report. In includes a video about "how the surgery is done."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, July 30

You can keep things old school with a classic musical and an exhibit featuring watercolor paintings from the 1800s.

NPR

Farming The Bluefin Tuna, Tiger Of The Ocean, Is Not Without A Price

Scientists are trying to raise prized bluefin tuna completely in captivity. An experiment at a Baltimore university is the first successful attempt in North America.
NPR

Senate's Highway Trust Fund Bill Sets Up Conflict With The House

A short-term fix for the nearly empty Highway Trust Fund is a step closer to President Obama's desk. Congress has been talking about the long-term problems with the construction account, but the two chambers have not agreed on a long-term solution.
NPR

Some Loyal Foursquare Users Are Checking Out After Swarm Spinoff

Backlash to the company's move to break its app in two is costing it the users that loved Foursquare the most. "Why do I need two apps when I had one that provided both services?" asked one user.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.