Dr. Lewis Yocum, one of baseball’s most prominent surgeons, has passed away at 66.
Yocum served as the team physician of the Los Angeles Angels and was on the staff at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic. The clinic was founded by Frank Jobe, who performed the first-ever Tommy John surgery in 1974.
Yocum died of liver cancer.
“Lewis Yocum was a giant in the field of sports medicine,” MLB commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. “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 Athletics Trainers Society. All of our clubs relied upon Dr. Yocum’s trusted opinion and judgment.”
During Yocum’s career, Tommy John surgery turned from a last-ditch, career-threatening procedure into something almost routine. Along with Jobe and Dr. James Andrews, the trio have performed almost all of the Tommy John surgeries that have been performed on Major League Baseball players.
While Yocum rarely received media attention, aside as a footnote in reporting a player’s surgery, he did attract some attention last year. After doing Tommy John surgery on Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg, Yocum revealed that the team had never consulted with him on their much-maligned 160 innings limit for the young pitcher.
Photo via Twitter/@EKayAngels