Recalling Dr. Jobe
Colby Lewis got the news from his mother via text.
Dr. Frank Jobe, who pioneered the surgical procedure known as Tommy John surgery in 1974, had died at 88.
Jobe, who was the Dodgers’ team physician when he helped pitcher Tommy John resurrect his career after the surgery, meant a great deal to Lewis.
Lewis was only 16 when, 18 years ago, Jobe performed the elbow ligament replacement surgery on him, keeping his pro dreams alive.
“He saved my career real early,” Lewis said. “He saved a lot of guys’ careers. For the baseball community it’s a sad day.”
A couple of years after Lewis’ surgery, Jobe assisted with the same surgery on Lewis’ sister, a softball pitcher. At the time, Lewis said, they were thought to be the only known brother and sister to undergo the procedure in Jobe’s office.
Lewis said the family’s orthopedic surgeon in Bakersfield happened to go to medical school with Jobe and knew he was the guy they should see.
“He was an unbelievable guy,” Lewis said of Dr. Jobe. “He talked to you, real personable. He wasn’t one of those type of docs who was in and out and moved on. He could see the concern in my face and my mom’s face. He sat there and explained the whole situation and explained the whole process and what we were going to have to do.”
Jobe first tried to use a tendon in Lewis’ left arm to graft the replacement, but didn’t like the choice. He found one to his liking in Lewis’ Achilles tendon.
The procedure has salvaged the careers of countless players, not just pitchers, Lewis said, and Jobe should be honored for transforming the game.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I know [the Dodgers] will do something special for him at the field. But I feel like every organization should do something because he saved a lot of guy’s arms and helped them perform for their teams and keep their careers going.”
He said it
“I wanted to be with my teammates, but I sent him a text message saying, ‘Congratulations, you had a heck of a career.’ He was a role model both on and off the ice. What he did in his career was outstanding and it’s something that people like myself want to do.” — Rangers pitcher Derek Holland on the Stars retiring Mike Modano’s No. 9 jersey on Saturday, the day Holland arrived in Arizona.
Word from Wash
“Whether that becomes 30-something bags, I don’t know. He will get an opportunity to run, but he’s going to have to be smarter about it. Because they’re certainly going to be smarter when he’s on the bag.” — Manager Ron Washington on CF Leonys Martin, who stole 36 bases in 2013.