Tommy John

Position

Pitcher

Surgery Date

September 25, 1974

Return to Play

April 16, 1976

Post-Surgical MLB Career

14 years, 164 wins, +2,700 innings, 3 All-Star Game selections

Surgeon

Dr. Frank Jobe

David Wells

Pitcher
September 27, 1996
1999
11 Years, 8 post-season season appearances, 2 World Series, 330 games and 900 innings
Dr. James Andrews
David Wells is a former MLB player who pitched for 9 clubs and was originally drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays.

Tommy John Surgery

A journeyman pitcher, Wells pitched for 21 seasons for different 9 clubs originally drafted by Toronto Blue Jays in 1982 out of high school.  Wells suffered his UCL injury while in the Blue Jays’ minor league system in 1985 and underwent the procedure setting him back a year.  The surgery was performed by a Dr. Jobe contemporary and renowned orthopedist, Dr. James Andrews.

Return to the Mound

His teammates affectionately nicknamed him “Boomer,” he would return to pitch after a prolonged rehab period with his newly reconstructed elbow in 1986 and Wells would make his Major League debut in 1987 for the Toronto Blue Jays, marked by a successful stint with the upstart Blue Jays and post-season runs from 1989 – 1992

After Tommy John Accolades

Wells’ MLB career would span two decades after Tommy John surgery, appearing in 660 games, 239 career wins and over 3,400 innings pitched. He made 17 postseason appearances including two World Series championships and selected to 3 All-Stars games selections. Wells may be best remembered for his  performance on May 17, 1998, when he pitched the 15th perfect game in baseball history, when he blanked the Minnesota Twins, 4–0.

Colby Lewis

Pitcher
September 27, 1996
1999
11 Years, 8 post-season season appearances, 2 World Series, 330 games and 900 innings
Dr. Frank Jobe
Colby Lewis is a former MLB pitcher who underwent Tommy John surgery as a high school MLB prospect in 1996.

Tommy John Surgery

Colby Lewis, popularly nicknamed “Cobra”, was Major League Baseball pitcher. His MLB career spanned 11 years playing for the Detroit Tigers, Oakland Athletics, and Texas Rangers. He was one of the first prominent MLBers to have undergone Tommy John surgery while in High School in 1996 and what began a concerning trend of younger athletes experiencing elbow injury due to overuse. The procedure was performed by the late Dr. Frank Jobe.   He would not return to competitive play for another 2 years after his ruptured UCL.

Return to the Mound

Upon his return to the pitching mound, he was promptly drafted in the first round of the 1999 amateur draft (sandwich pick) by the Texas Rangers.   With his reconstructed elbow, he would eventually make it to the big leagues and made his MLB debut in 2002.

After Tommy John Accolades

Lewis went on to pitch in the Majors and pro Japanese leagues until his retirement in 2016, logging over 1,200 innings pitched on his reconstructed elbow. He would appear in 8 post season series and lead the Rangers to consecutive World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011.

Norm Charlton

Pitcher
July 12, 1993
April 26, 1995
7 Years, 5 post-season appearances, 330 games and 900 innings
Dr. Frank Jobe
Norm Charlton is a former MLB reliever who underwent Tommy John surgery in 1993 and pitched for 6 different clubs over a 13-year career.

Tommy John Surgery

Norm Charlton was drafted in the first round of the 1984 MLB draft by the Montreal Expos and later make his MLB debut in 1988 with the Cincinnati Reds.  He was best known as being part of the infamous “Nasty Boys” relief pitching corps for the 1990 Reds team who won the World Series and was coined “the Sherriff” by his teammates.

He would later be diagnosed with a ruptured UCL and underwent Tommy John surgery mid-way through the 1993 season.

Return to the Mound

Charlton was recognized for his part in two beloved Mariners teams.  After surgery under the care of Dr. Frank Jobe in July of 1993 requiring the entire 1994 season for rehab, he would return in April of 1995, he would be involved in a mid-season trade that would make him the Seattle’s closer and contribute to the first ever post-season appearance by the “refuse-to-lose” franchise that year.

After Tommy John Accolades

Charlton went on to pitch an additional seven years after returning from Tommy John in 1995 and appeared in 330 games and 900 innings pitched on his reconstructed elbow.  He made appearance in five post-season series including his role in the Mariners’ record setting year of 2001 that would set the MLB record for most regular season wins at 116 that catapulted them to the ALCS.  Charlton retired from baseball after the 2001 season with a career record of 51-54, an ERA of 3.71, 808 strikeouts, and 97 saves.

Todd Worrell

Pitcher
December 1, 1989
April 6, 1992
6 Years, 2 All-Star Games, NL Save leader in 1996, +330 games
Dr. Frank Jobe
Todd Worrell is a former MLB reliever who underwent Tommy John surgery in 1989 and was a feared closer through the second half of the eighties over a 11-year career.

Tommy John Surgery

Todd Worrell was draft in the first round of the 1982 MLB draft and would make his MLB debut as a formidable and reliable closer for the St. Louis Cardinals recording back-to-back 30 save seasons to start his career, earning him NL ROY honors in 1986. Midway through the 1989 campaign, Worrell suffered a setback in his overworked pitching elbow that had averaged +70 appearances during his first three full seasons in the majors.  He was diagnosed with a ruptured UCL and underwent Tommy John surgery in 1989.

Return to the Mound

After surgery under the care of Dr. Frank Jobe and a prolonged rehab period, Worrell would return to the mound for the Cardinals in April of 1992 appearing in 67 games and posting a stingy 2.11 ERA.

After Tommy John Accolades

His successful return after surgery would yield his reconstructed pitching elbow an additional six years, serving as the featured closer for the Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers.  He twice would be a NL All-Star selection in 1995 and 1996 and went on to lead the NL with 44 saves in 1996.  Worrell retired after an 11-year MLB career in 1997 and is considered when the best closers of his era.

Steve Ontiveros

Pitcher
July 20, 1989; June 13, 1996
Sept 13, 1990; 2000
5 Years, 1994 AL ERA leader; 1995 All-Star
Drs. Frank Jobe and Lewis Yocum
Steve Ontiveros, was a former MLB pitcher and first athlete to undergo Tommy John surgery twice.

Tommy John Surgery

Ontiveros was one of the rare big league pitchers to have gone to Tommy John surgery twice and credited as the first to successfully returning to a MLB mound after the each, although hampered by injuries, his career never regained his form after the second.  Ontiveros suffered his first UCL injury during the 1989 season and underwent Tommy John surgery in July of that same year under the care of Dr. Frank Jobe.  He would injure the elbow in 1996 and became the first known athlete to receive a second treatment, this time by Jobe mentee, Dr. Lewis Yocum. Both of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic.

Return to the Mound

After the initial Tommy John procedure in July of 1989, Ontiveros returned in relatively short period from rehab and took to a MLB mound in September of 1990.  His second bout with UCL reconstruction in June of 1996, wasn’t so fortuitous.  At the time, a second procedure was projected to have only a 50% chance for a successful return.  He remained in rehab for nearly 4 baseball seasons only to return to play for 3 appearances before retiring at the age of 39.

 After Tommy John Accolades

After his first return from Tommy John, Ontiveros would go on to pitch an additional 5 years for 3 different clubs, earning AL ERA title in 1994 posting a stingy 2.65. In 1995 he was selected to the AL All-star team as a member of the Oakland A’s.  With his career cut short after this second UCL injury, Ontiveros retired after a 10-year MLB career after the 2000 season appearing in over 200 games and posting a career 3.67 ERA.

 

 

Danny Cox

Pitcher
March 31, 1989
April 27, 1991
5Years; Averaged 30 appearance; 1993 WS Champion
Dr. Frank Jobe
Danny Cox is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who pitched for 11 seasons beginning his career with the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

Tommy John Surgery

Danny Cox made his MLB debut in a Cardinals uniform in 1983 during the Whitey Herzog era in St. Louis and progressed as a reliable top-of-the-rotation starter for the red birds.  At the height of his career, Cox became hampered with elbow troubles and eventually diagnosed with a ruptured UCL injury during the 1988 season.  He underwent Tommy John surgery under the care of Dr. Frank Jobe of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic prior to the start of the 1989 season.

Return to the Mound

After missing the whole of two seasons rehabilitating his reconstructed elbow, an now a free agent, Cox would successfully return to the mound in April of 1991 as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies rotation where he would log over 100+ innings and appearing in 23 games during the season.

 After Tommy John Accolades

Cox went on to pitch an additional five years after returning from Tommy John elbow reconstruction, averaging 30 game appearances and 75 innings each season. He helped lead the Toronto Blue Jays to their second consecutive World Series title in 1993.  He retired after 11 MLB seasons in 1995 and was inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.

 

Don Aase

Pitcher
October 18, 1982
June 18, 1984
7 Years, ERA, 1986 All-Star, 266 appearances, 360 innings
Dr. Lewis Yocum
Don Aase is a former MLB pitcher who underwent Tommy John surgery, performed by the late Dr. Lewis Yocum, while playing for the California Angels in 1982.

Tommy John Surgery

Don Aase played all or part of 13 seasons for four different AL and NL teams from 1977 – 1990, appearing three post-season campaigns and nearly 450 games over his career.  Hampered by discomfort in his pitching elbow during the 1982 season, Aase was diagnosed with a UCL tear and shortly thereafter, underwent Tommy John surgery under the care of Dr. Lewis Yocum of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in July of 1982.

Return to the Mound

After twenty months rehabilitating his reconstructed elbow, Aase came back to pitch for the California Angels in June of 1984 appearing in 23 games and recording 8 saves out of the pen.

 After Tommy John Accolades

Aase would go on to pitch an additional whole or parts of 7 years after returning from Tommy John surgery. Once a starting pitcher, Aase transitioned to the pen as a reliever and logged 360 innings over 260 games, after surgery for four different clubs including the Angels, Dodgers and Mets.  Regaining his form with his fully recovered elbow, he was selected to the All-Star game in 1986 as a member of the Baltimore Orioles.  He ended his MLB career logging in a total of 13 years.

Joe Sambito

Pitcher
July 7, 1982
May 25, 1984
4 Years and 140 appearances
Dr. Frank Jobe
Joe Sambito is a former MLB pitcher having pitched with the three different clubs spanning his 11 years at the big league level and underwent Tommy John in 1982.

Tommy John Surgery

Originally drafted by the Houston Astros in 1973, Sambito made his MLB debut in 1976.  At the peak of his career, he started the 1982 season with four saves and a stingy 0.71 ERA in nine appearances in April, before it was discovered that bone chips had damaged the ligaments of his pitching elbow. He underwent Tommy John surgery in July of 1982 under the care of Dr. Frank Jobe at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic and would miss the rest of the season and all of 1983 rehabilitating from surgery.

Return to the Mound

After missing nearly the whole of two seasons rehabilitating his reconstructed elbow, Sambito would successfully return from the now proven procedure to recapture his form in May of the 1984 season where he went on to post a respectable 3.02 ERA over 32 game appearances for the Astros.

 After Tommy John Accolades

Sambito would go on to pitch an additional fours years after returning from Tommy John, and appear for the Boston Red Sox in the 1986 World Series.  He would retire from baseball with a solid 3.03 career ERA and over 400 appearances with the Astros, Mets and Red Sox.

Tom Candiotti

Pitcher
October 13, 1981
April 1983
16 Years, Career ERA 3.73, 451 games and +2,700 innings
Dr. Frank Jobe
Tom Candiotti had a 16-year career as a MLB pitcher with the Brewers, Indians, Blue Jays, Dodgers and Athletics, all after undergoing Tommy John surgery performed by Dr. Frank Jobe in 1981.

Tommy John Surgery

Originally drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1980 and shortly into his minor league career with Milwaukee, Tom Candiotti suffered an ulnar collateral ligament injury in his pitching elbow.  In October of 1981, at the age of 23, Candiotti underwent Tommy John surgery performed by the procedure’s inventor, Dr. Frank Jobe. He became only the second athlete ever to come back from Tommy John surgery and successfully pitch at the big league level.

Return to the Mound

He would successfully recover from the still relatively new procedure to recapture his form and called up to the majors for the start of the 1983 season where he won his first four major league starts with a 0.84 ERA just 22 months after the surgery, and affectionally coined the ‘The Stopper’ in Beertown by fans and the local media.

 After Tommy John Accolades

That was the start of a 16-year career as a pitcher in MLB. With his reconstructed elbow, Candiotti went on to pitch professionally for six different MLB clubs after the procedure pitching a league-high 17 complete games in 1986, a career 3.73 ERA, pitching in 450+ games and amassing 2,700 innings pitched. Candiotti, later called “candy man” by his peers, ended his career in 1999 at the age of 42, with an ERA of 3.73, having struck out 1,735 batters, all with a ulnar collateral ligament reconstructed by Dr. Frank Jobe.

Tommy John

Pitcher
September 25, 1974
April 16, 1976
14 years, 164 wins, +2,700 innings, 3 All-Star Game selections
Dr. Frank Jobe
Tommy John is best known as the first athlete to ever undergo the innovative UCL reconstruction of the elbow and return successfully to competition.

 

Tommy John Surgery

John suffered his UCL injury 12 years into his MLB career and underwent the innovative procedure in September of 1974 while pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The pioneering procedure using Tendon transfers had been used before, but they’d never been used in this application. He first removed a tendon from the wrist of Tommy John’s non-pitching arm, then drilled 4-holes in the bones of the injured elbow, and laced the tendon through the holes in place of the torn ligament.  Read more about the history of the first surgery here. 

Return to the Mound

Projected to only have a 1% success rate, the reconstruction procedure was successful after a prolonged rehab period and with a newly reconstructed elbow, John returned to a MLB mound in April of 1976.  John would be notoriously nicknamed the “Bionic Man,” and the now common surgical procedure would forever be famously known and linked to his name.

After Tommy John Accolades

John’s reconstructed elbow yielded him 14 more years of competitive play until he retired after 26 years at the age of 46 having pitched professionally in four different decades for six separate clubs. His career numbers tallied 760 game appearances, over 4,700 innings, he recorded more wins after surgery than prior, appeared in 5 postseasons including 3 World Series, selected to the All-Star game 4 times and 4 top ten placements for the AL Cy Young Award.