Dr. Frank Jobe, whose experimental surgery to fix a pitcher's elbow turned into a medical breakthrough that forever changed baseball, died Thursday. He was 88 and in his 50th season with the Dodgers. In 2008, after retiring from active practice at the Kerlan-Jobe Medical Clinic, Jobe was named special advisor to the chairman of the Dodgers. Last year, Jobe was honored as part of Hall of Fame Weekend in Cooperstown for having a significant impact on baseball culture. Specifically, in 1974 Jobe transplanted a tendon to replace the torn ulnar collateral ligament of Dodgers lefty Tommy John, whose comeback lasted 14 years and set such a successful precedent for future patients that the surgery bears his name. But it was Jobe who invented it, performed it, refined it and taught it to hundreds of training orthopedic surgeons that now consider it a routine procedure to prolong careers of ballplayers at every level of the game. "[Sandy] Koufax teases me that if I was smart enough to think of it 10 years before, it might have been called the Koufax operation," Jobe once said. "He had essentially the same problem." Jobe originally told John there was only a 5 percent chance of success, but in its current form nearly 95 percent of patients return as good, or better, than before suffering the injury. "Frank Jobe is a Hall of Famer in every sense of the word," said Dodger President Stan Kasten. "His dedication and professionalism in not only helping the Dodgers, but athletes around the world is unparalleled. He was a medical giant and pioneer and many athletes in the past and the future can always thank Frank for finding a way to continue their careers." "I was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Dr. Frank Jobe, a great gentleman whose work in Baseball revolutionized sports medicine," said Baseball Commissioner Allan "Bud" Selig. "Since 1974, his groundbreaking Tommy John surgery has 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.
Famed "Tommy John surgeon" Jobe dies at 88
MLB.com | Mar 7