John said that three men changed the face of baseball: Jackie Robinson by integrating the game, Marvin Miller for doing away with the reserve clause, and Jobe for coming up with Tommy John surgery.
“The awards presentation is the ultimate stage to honor aspects of baseball that aren’t otherwise eligible for induction,” said Idelson.
“He seemed very thoughtful and humble,” said Wittstein, who was introduced to Jobe by John at the ceremony, who described the introduction as a really neat experience.
John said that he last saw Jobe in January when they both attended a golf tournament, and that news of his death hadn’t come as a surprise.
“He was frail then,” said John. “I expected a phone call … almost any time.”
John said that the nicest part of last year’s event was a party held for Jobe at the Otesaga. For the event, 30 to 40 physicians that Jobe had trained flew in to honor Jobe, and Sandy Koufax and former Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda also came by to pay their respects.
Some people have called for Jobe to be inducted into the HOF itself for his contributions.
“Yeah, definitely,” said Wittstein. “He’s certainly more influential than any one manager of any baseball team I would say.”
“If they have a spot for him,” said John, who said that there is currently no place in the HOF for surgeons. “He certainly deserves it.”
“I would never say never,” said Idelson, who pointed out that Jobe’s contribution had already been honored by the HOF at the highest level available last year.