|Tommy John and Dr. Frank Jobe, at the edges of baseball innovation.|
As has been widely reported, Dr. Jobe gave John just a 1% chance of playing baseball again after the surgery; John's startling success paved the way for the procedure to become ubiquitous over the next four decades.
Placed on the Reliquary's Shrine of the Eternals Ballot in 2003, Dr. Jobe would be inducted in 2012--giving a gracious, doctorly acceptance speech to a warm, appreciative audience in Pasadena after having been introduced by John, the man who'd made him a household word.
Dr. Jobe, who passed away earlier today at age 88, wanted to prevent the injuries that his surgical procedure proved so adept at fixing. He felt that most pitchers who reached the major leagues were pitching with at least an incipient injury, usually due to poor mechanics and overuse while pitching as teenagers. While these ideas have yet to fully take hold in the secondary schools and American Legion leagues across America, Jobe's efforts and insights have inspired ongoing programs and research, providing hope that, over time, a series of preventive measures can take hold to reduce the rate of injury.
While Ben Sakoguchi has been reluctant to take commissions, we wonder if he might consider making an exception for Dr. Jobe, who remains a man for all seasons.