2020 MLB Draft Guide: Understanding Tommy John Surgery
Andy Spiteri takes a look at exactly what Tommy John surgery is, the recovery process and how MLB pitchers are ultimately affected by it.
The list of major league pitchers who have undergone “Tommy John” surgery grows longer each year. We all cringe when we hear that our favorite pitcher has “forearm tightness” and a possible “UCL” injury. Most know who Tommy John was, but how well do you understand the surgery itself? Let’s take a look at a little history, the surgery, the recovery, and its implications on the player’s long term outlook.
The first surgery was performed by Dr. Frank Jobe on Tommy John in September of 1974. John was able to pitch again 18 months later and went on to win 164 games over 15 years after the surgery. He retired at age 46 and never had another issue with his elbow. Major League history was forever changed with this event. The 80s saw Tom Candiotti and David Wells perform well after the surgery. Wells may have been the first player who had Tommy John performed by the now famous Dr. James Andrews. Today the surgery has become so routine that an estimated ? of all MLB pitchers...