Cooperstown Crier - Your Source for Hometown News - Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

March 13, 2014

Groundbreaking surgeon Frank Jobe fondly remembered

Dr. Frank Jobe, a physician whose work is responsible for saving the careers of numerous major league baseball players, died on March 6 at the age of 88.

“My reaction’s one of great sadness,” said National Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson. “He was a quiet giant in the game of baseball.”

“He probably, more than any other sports medicine orthopedic surgeon, has really impacted one single sport,” said Jocelyn Wittstein, director of research at the Bassett Shoulder and Sports Medicine Research Institute at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown. “He’s kind of changed the history of the sport of baseball.”

Jobe innovated and performed the first Tommy John surgery. The surgery, medically known as ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, is named after Tommy John, the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher that Jobe first performed it on.

A medical staff sergeant in WWII who landed at D-Day and was briefly captured in the Battle of the Bulge, Jobe went to college on the GI Bill and became a surgeon. He first started working with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1964 and in 1968 became the team’s physician.

In the middle of the 1974 season Tommy John tore his ulnar collateral ligament, which is located in the elbow. At the time, this injury was career ending and not well understood. Indeed, such an injury ended the career of legendary Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax.

“Before he came up with that procedure … people had no option,” said Wittstein.

John, however, wanted to pitch again and asked Jobe to find a way to make that possible.

“I felt that he thought of me as a friend first,” said John, who described Jobe as honest and pleasant. “I felt that he would give me the best advice for me.”

After diagnosing the tear as the problem, Jobe came up with the idea of taking a tendon from John’s wrist and using it to replace the torn ligament. When he brought the idea to John, he gave it a one in 100 chance of success. He also made sure that John had something to fall back on if the surgery failed.

Text Only
Hall of Fame
  • Trip, HOF speech expected to be brief Except for the Secret Service agents walking around the village, nothing seemed unusual in Cooperstown yesterday morning despite the scheduled arrival of President Barack Obama today.

    May 22, 2014

  • White House: Obama will make visit to Cooperstown

    May 17, 2014

  • La Russa humbled by Hall visit A modest and self-effacing Tony La Russa answered questions from the media during his orientation tour at the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Thursday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Groundbreaking surgeon Frank Jobe fondly remembered Dr. Frank Jobe, a physician whose work is responsible for saving the careers of numerous major league baseball players, died on March 6 at the age of 88.

    March 13, 2014

  • Maddux, La Russa choose not to choose HOF caps (AP) -- Greg Maddux and Tony La Russa will not have logos on their National Baseball Hall of Fame plaques, the Cooperstown shrine announced Thursday.

    January 24, 2014

  • Autumn Glory Exhibit open The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown has unveiled its new "Autumn Glory" exhibit, which honors the World Series championship of the 2013 Boston Red Sox.

    December 5, 2013

  • coop0919ErikStrohl Baseball HOF promotes three employees Three members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's senior staff have been promoted to vice president, Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson announced on Tuesday.

    September 19, 2013 3 Photos

  • HOF to offer 'VIP Experience' again The legends and heroes of the national pastime call Cooperstown home. But for a few days this fall and next spring, fans can experience the Hall of Fame through an exclusive in-depth exploration.

    September 19, 2013

  • Hall changes process for Frick Award The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's Board of Directors has restructured the procedures for the Ford C. Frick Award selection process, refining the criteria and organizing candidates by era, with changes effective immediately.

    September 12, 2013

  • coop0822clarkpic Earliest ideas about creating a Hall of Fame exist in museum's archive Some eight decades ago, before there was a National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, folks in and around the game were hoping to somehow honor the National Pastime with a centennial celebration at what was thought to be the birthplace of the sport.

    August 22, 2013 1 Photo

New Today!
House Ads
Featured Comment
Poll

How do you like our new website?

Its great!
Its ok
Not very much
I dont like it at all
     View Results