03/07/2014 | Created by Darla Martin Tucker

It is with sadness that the La Sierra University community received the news of the passing of one of its beloved alums, Dr. Frank Jobe.

Dr. Frank Jobe (center) received the La Sierra Alumnus of the Year Award in April 2013, surrounded by his family.
Dr. Frank Jobe

Dr. Jobe passed away on March 6 at the age of 88, a legend in the annals of sports medicine as the creator of the famed 'Tommy John' surgery for baseball pitchers. His groundbreaking achievement prolonged or saved the careers of countless baseball players at all levels and changed baseball forever.

On April 19, 2013, La Sierra University honored Jobe as its Alumnus of the Year during an Alumni weekend banquet held at the university's Glory of God's Grace sculpture plaza. A couple of months later in July, he received one of the highest honors a civilian can get from the professional sports world - a special recognition from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. during Hall of Fame Weekend 2013.

La Sierra University Magazine featured Dr. Jobe, his storied career and Hall of Fame award with a cover story for the Summer 2013 edition.

Jobe changed the game of baseball on Sept. 25, 1974, when he performed the first ever ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction surgery on the left elbow of a Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Tommy John. The procedure, now known as the "Tommy John" surgery, involved grafting a tendon from John's forearm into his elbow to replace the ligament. John recovered and took his baseball career to new heights. Before Jobe operated on John, the pitcher had won 124 games in the big leagues. After the surgery, he won 164 games, and was able to play until age 46.

Since that groundbreaking achievement, Jobe performed more than 1,000 Tommy John surgeries on pitchers of varying level and ability. He later developed another revolutionary procedure, a shoulder reconstruction surgery that was first used to save the career of Dodger great Orel Hershiser.

Jobe graduated from La Sierra in 1949 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He then studied medicine at Loma Linda's College of Medical Evangelists, now Loma Linda University School of Medicine. In 1965, along with sports medicine physician Robert Kerlan, he founded the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic which currently operates out of locations in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Anaheim, and Santa Monica.

During his acceptance speech for the Alumni of the Year Award, Jobe attributed his success in life to others, beginning with his wife, Beverly, who created a "stable home environment so I could do things without worrying about anything," he said. He also cited the life lessons he learned from La Sierra's faculty during his college tenure.

"Those life lessons are probably more important than any book learning," Jobe said. "They showed me how to live, how to be nice to people, how to take care of people. La Sierra has such a treasure in its faculty. I hope it's never lost."

The Jobe family has a long-standing connection with La Sierra University. Dr. Jobe's son, Meredith Jobe, grandson, Kevin, and daughter-in-law, Melanie Jobe, are all alumni of La Sierra. Meredith currently is a member of the university Board of Trustees, and Melanie is director of our Center for Student Academic Success (C-SAS). Our prayers are with the Jobe family during this difficult time.

For additional coverage of the life of Frank Jobe, visit the following news media links:

Los Angeles Times:

www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-me-frank-jobe-20140307,0,7968857.story

New York Times:

www.nytimes.com/2014/03/07/sports/baseball/dr-frank-jobe-who-pioneered-tommy-john-surgery-dies-at-88.html

NBC News:

www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/surgeon-frank-jobe-savior-major-league-pitchers-dies-88-n46646