Dr. Jobe will be answering questions for an hour starting at 6 EST today in anticipation of Hall of Fame Weekend. We will pass the questions along to him and write out the answers word-for-word. He didn't think that anyone would have any questions for him and that it's all been asked and answered already, but he agreed to do it based on the urging of his friends. With respect to patient privacy, AMAA!

proof | in uniform | a young Dr. Jobe | with Wilt Chamberlain & Steve Rogers | recent 30-for-30 short on Tommy John & Dr. Jobe

Comments: 62 • Responses: 11  • Date: 

Kretinous20 karma

How did you feel about the decision to shutdown Strasburg last year? Would you have recommended him be shutdown at the point he was or could he have pitched through the playoffs for the nats and been ok?

DrFrankJobe24 karma

I think it made sense for them to shut him down at that point. In hindsight it might have made sense to shut him down earlier in the year so that he could have pitched in the playoffs, but that's hindsight. I'm very proud of them for putting the health and career of the player ahead of the game.

Jareddublin12 karma

Does the inverted W all but guarantee that a pitcher will need Tommy John (as was seen with Mark Prior and Stephen Strasburg)?

Just wanted to say that you're an absolute legend and true savior of countless baseball careers. I truly believe you belong in the hall, as the history of baseball would be incomplete without mentioning you and your work. Thank you for everything.

DrFrankJobe9 karma

I'm not sure to be honest. It doesn't seem to be a natural position, but I can't say if it guarantees it or not - I haven't seen any studies on that in particular.

TheLizardKing8911 karma

Are you annoyed that the surgery is know as the Tommy John surgery and not the Frank Jobe surgery? Also, Go Blue!

DrFrankJobe17 karma

Not at all. I like it.

DrFrankJobe20 karma

And Go Blue!

Juffy9 karma

Hi Dr. Jobe,

What is your take on younger players preemptively undergoing TJ surgery, rather than waiting until an injury requires it? Do you think it is a good idea (even if it means doing so in a person's teens) or do you recommend players wait until they absolutely need to undergo surgery?

Also, as an aside- favorite baseball team? Favorite player (either past or present)?


DrFrankJobe20 karma

Really don't like it. Terrible idea.

The Dodgers of course. I can pick a few: Drysdale, Koufax, Hershiser, Tommy John...I can't pick just one.

needmoretape9 karma

How did pitchers ever have long and successful careers without tommy john surgery before you invented it, and why is it seemingly mandatory pitchers get it at some point in their career now?

DrFrankJobe19 karma

That's a multiple answer type of question. In a lot of cases, they didn't. Luck and genetics had a lot more to do with it.

As for now, pitchers are throwing a lot harder than they used to, and one of the reasons I think is that, now, pitchers always have in the back of their mind "oh I can get an operation", while in the old days you always had to think about preservation. In the old days they did a lot of throwing but not necessarily throwing hard - the idea was to have a lot of different pitches.

5reads9 karma

Don Larsen, I think, once commented that he believes the reason for the upswing in Tommy John surgeries has to do with how pitchers today throw the curve. He said that, since most older pitchers brought their arms "straight over the top", it reduced the torque on the elbow. Now, more pitchers are throwing at a less vertical angle, causing a rotation force during the pitch. Your thoughts?

DrFrankJobe10 karma

The truth is that I don't know. It may be true, but there are so many other factors (genetics, joint structure, etc.) in play. Even an individual over time is different, as muscle mass, minor variations in technique, and so many factors play a role. Even the angle of how a pitcher steps on the mound. It's definitely possible that arm angle plays a part, but there are just so many factors that it's not a controlled experiment and we can't be certain.

lord_of_vader9 karma

Hi Dr. Jobe. Thanks for doing this AMA.

I've always been interested in how decisions and past experiences tie into what people do now. For example, I joined the military as a musician, ended up in IT, ended up in CAD, and ended up an engineer years later.

What was your path from when you were in the war to where are you now? Can you expound a little on that process? Thank you for serving, by the way.

DrFrankJobe16 karma

I went in in 1943, and that time everybody who turned 18 went into the army. I went overseas as a replacement and was signed to the medical company of 101st airborne, which I chose over straight infantry. It seemed like a little better thing to do. In the rest area, the doctors who I was working with would say to me "what are you gonna do when you get out of this war?" At that point I said "I don't know, I just finished high school". They told me that I could do it. So when I got out, I took pre-med to see if I liked it, and I did. So I just kept on going.

SouthernDerpfornia8 karma

How short do you think the timetable for Tommy John recovery will eventually be? Players seem to be coming back sooner and sooner

DrFrankJobe13 karma

They've got it down to about a year, but if they try and do it earlier than that there's just a higher percentage that get sore. We already tried that way back, and a year seemed to be the breaking point. It depends on a lot of things - genetics, how fast an individual heals, and how exactly it got torn. We've found that the standard shortest amount of time is a year, and I don't think that will change.

It's so hard to convince players of the necessity of healing, because they will feel good sooner than that. They can probably throw a few pitches before then, but it's just not worth the risk.

smegmanatee7 karma

How many TJ surgeries did you perform over the span of your career?

DrFrankJobe12 karma

I never counted 'em so I can't even give you a close count. A lot.

DrFrankJobe14 karma

Other people have done a lot more than I have. Dr. Andrews and Dr. Yocum are two that I can think of.