Lewis Yocum, Tommy John surgery pioneer, passed away over the weekend at the age of 65.
An intern at the time of Frank Jobe performing the first TJ surgery, Yocum was in his 36th year as the team's orthopedist. Yocum has helped further the surgery and turn it from the proverbial death sentence it was 30 years ago, into the relatively-routine procedure it is today.
Yocum and James Andrews are the two main names in the TJ surgery business, and it will be a major blow to lose Yocum.
MLB commissioner Bud Selig issued a statement Tuesday on Yocum's passing:
"Dr. Lewis Yocum was a giant in the field of sports medicine. He was an invaluable resource to not only the Angels franchise but players throughout all of Major League Baseball, team physicians and the members of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society. All of our Clubs relied upon Dr. Yocum’s trusted opinion and judgment. Throughout the last 36 years, the lives and careers of countless players benefited from his pioneering expertise, and he made our game on the field better as a result. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to his wife Beth, their children, their friends and his many admirers."
Yocum lost his battle with liver cancer, but left a lasting impact on some of his patients. They took to Twitter to express their sadness over Yocum passing.
Really saddened by the passing of Dr Yocum, he was the sole reason a lot of pitchers and I had a chance at a career in baseball.#mlbLegend— C.J. Wilson (@str8edgeracer) May 28, 2013
Sad to hear of the passing of Dr. Yocum. Performed my elbow surgery in 2006. I am very grateful for all he did for my career…RIP— Vinnie Pestano (@VinnieP52) May 28, 2013