LOS ANGELES -- Longtime Dodgers team physician and one of the most influential non-players in baseball history, Dr. Frank Jobe, died Thursday morning in Santa Monica, his family announced. Jobe was 88.
Jobe was associated with the Dodgers since 1964, and has been a special adviser to the chairman since 2008.
"Frank Jobe is a Hall of Famer in every sense of the word," said team president Stan Kasten in a release. "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."
He is most well known for his pioneering procedure on then-Dodgers pitcher Tommy John, who tore his MCL in his left elbow in 1974. Jobe replaced the ligament with a tendon from John's forearm. After suffering an injury for which there was previously no cure, John pitched 14 more seasons, pitched 2,544⅔ more innings and won 164 more games.
"Baseball lost a great man and Tommy John lost a great friend," said John. "There are a lot of pitchers in baseball who should celebrate his life and what he did for the game of baseball. My deepest condolences and prayers go out to Beverly and the entire family. He’s going to be missed."
Jobe himself performed hundreds of Tommy John surgeries since, and performed surgery on Orel Hershiser's shoulder in 1990.
He change my life!! Gave me back my career!! I will miss him and I am eternally grateful!!! Dr. Frank Jobe— Orel Hershiser (@OrelHershiser) March 7, 2014
Dr. Jobe not only put us back together. He also had the greatest bed side manner! Time to calm a young mans fears about his future!!— Orel Hershiser (@OrelHershiser) March 7, 2014
I remember slipping and falling on my repaired shoulder!He said he would have to drop me from the roof of my home to hurt his repair. At 1am— Orel Hershiser (@OrelHershiser) March 7, 2014
Dr. Jobe may have touched more wins and saves than anyone in baseball!! Performed and trained countless surgeries and surgeons!— Orel Hershiser (@OrelHershiser) March 7, 2014
Jobe's fellowship program at the Kerlan-Jobe clinic has trained more than 250 fellows since its inception.
He grew up in North Carolina, fought in the U.S. Army during World War II, then studied at the Loma Linda School of Medicine and did his residency at Los Angeles County Hospital.
Here is a sample of reaction to his passing:
An awful lot of baseball players should bend an elbow to Dr. Frank Jobe.— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) March 7, 2014
Just saw Dr Jobe passed away. He invented the surgery that gave me a chance to have a 10+yr as an MLB player. Baseball owes him a lot!— C.J. Wilson (@str8edgeracer) March 7, 2014
It was an honor and pleasure every time I spoke with Frank Jobe. A war hero, a pioneer, an exceedingly good man. He will be sorely missed.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 7, 2014
Jobe was honored (though not enshrined) by the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013 as part of an awards celebration.
Perhaps Jobe's impact was best summed up by Jobe himself.
"The most satisfying feeling in medicine is to watch a patient from the time of the injury until he’s well and back to 100 percent," said Jobe. "This is very satisfying because it’s something I took part in from the beginning."
Jobe is survived by his wife, Beverly, four sons—Christopher, Meredith, Cameron and Blair—their spouses and eight grandchildren.. The Dodgers say the Jobe family plans a celebration of his life, and that details will be forthcoming.