La Sierra honors sports medicine legend as Alumnus of the Year

Sports medicine great Dr. Frank Jobe receives the La Sierra University Alumnus of the Year award from university President Randal Wisbey on April 19 with Jobe’s sons Meredith Jobe (left) and Chris Jobe standing by.

La Sierra honors sports medicine legend as Alumnus of the Year

April 26, 2013

By Darla Martin Tucker


RIVERSIDE, Calif. – ( This July, sports medicine legend and La Sierra University alumnus Frank Jobe will receive 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.

But his first stop was La Sierra University where on Friday, April 19 he received an award as Alumnus of the Year during an Alumni weekend banquet held at the university’s Glory of God’s Grace sculpture plaza.

“Tonight we have the privilege of honoring him first,” said La Sierra University President Randal Wisbey in remarks prior to presenting Jobe with the crystal award.

“Our alumnus of the year’s impact on the game of baseball simply cannot be measured. And he never played an inning in the major leagues,” Wisbey said. In fact, Jobe changed baseball forever 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 has performed more than 1,000 Tommy John surgeries on pitchers of varying level and ability, and the procedure has prolonged or saved the careers of 150 professional baseball players. 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.

The practice built upon Kerlan’s clinic established in 1950. Eight years later Kerlan was named team doctor for the Brooklyn Dodgers when the team moved to Los Angeles. He served as consultant for other professional sports teams prior to the arrival of his friend, Jobe to the practice. Over the years, the two doctors oversaw medical treatment for the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, the former Los Angeles Rams and other organizations. The clinic’s current staff of physicians continues to provide consulting services for these and other major league sports teams and organizations. Jobe serves as a special advisor to the Dodgers’ chairman.

Jobe spoke briefly to the audience of La Sierra alumni, family members, faculty and staff after they gave him a standing ovation. His son Meredith Jobe, daughter-in-law, Melanie Jobe, wife of Chris Jobe, and Jobe’s grandson, Kevin also all graduated from La Sierra. 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,” Jobe said. And he 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,” said Jobe. “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.”

  • Last update on  April 30, 2013