John gives MRI of elbow to surgical pioneer Jobe

John gives MRI of elbow to surgical pioneer Jobe

John gives MRI of elbow to surgical pioneer Jobe
LOS ANGELES -- It was 38 years ago that Dr. Frank Jobe gave Tommy John a reconstructed elbow, and on Saturday John gave Jobe an MRI of it.

Jobe, who invented for John the operation that grafts an unnecessary tendon to replace a torn elbow ligament, will be inducted into the Baseball Reliquary's Shrine of the Eternals on Sunday and John will make the introduction.

Both were on hand for Saturday's ceremonial first pitch before the Dodgers hosted the Padres.

"After the [1974] surgery, I asked Frank that when my career is over he should put me under and open the elbow and look and see the wear and tear," John said. "He said that was unnecessary surgery. So when I had an MRI of my shoulder after throwing batting practice at age 66, I had an MRI of my elbow and here it is."

John, now 69, unveiled a poster-size montage of an elbow MRI, photos from his playing days, the words John spoke when he agreed to the surgery ("Let's do it") and the fact that he had 124 wins before the surgery and 164 after. He presented a signed copy to the 87-year-old Jobe, who has retired from practice and is a special adviser to the Dodgers chairman.

"This is wonderful," said Jobe, whose first experience with tendon transplants involved polio patients.

The surgery has extended the careers of hundreds of pitchers, as well as some position players, including current Dodgers pitcher Chris Capuano, who had it twice, and Todd Coffey, who will soon have his second.

"[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 said. "He had essentially the same problem."

John was asked if Jobe deserves to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

"I don't see why not," he said. "I think Dr. Jobe is worthy of it. What he's done medically-speaking is as much as a 300-game winner."