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The Dodgers' Dr. Frank Jobe changed baseball and deserves a place in the Hall of Fame

September 25, 2010 |  2:15 pm

It was 36 years ago Saturday, Dr. Frank Jobe taught the players how still to play …

That’s right, 36 years ago Jobe put Tommy John under the knife and made medical and sports history.

His innovative surgery -- removing a tendon from one forearm and turning it into an elbow ligament on the other -- revitalized the career of John.

It forever changed the face of baseball. How many people can make that claim?

And it should earn Jobe a place in the baseball Hall of Fame.

After the success with John, Jobe went on to perform the procedure over 1,000 times. It was accepted throughout the medical community and performed by others throughout the country.

Because of Jobe, the careers of pitchers John, Billy Wagner, John Franco, John Smoltz, A.J. Burnett, Tim Hudson, Ryan Dempster, Eric Gagne, Joakim Soria, Francisco Liriano, position players Matt Holiday, Paul Molitor, Xavier Nady, Jose Canseco, football stars Deion Sanders and Jake Delhomme, and countless other athletes would have all been cut short.

I am hardly the first to suggest that it has earned Jobe -- whose innovative shoulder surgery also extended the career of Orel Hershiser and others -- a place in baseball’s hall.

But the movement has failed to generate momentum, which is a shame. The veterans’ committee can vote in nonplayers who have impacted the game.

There are worthy umpires, owners, general managers, commissioners and league presidents. Even the guy who invented the box score, Henry Chadwick. There is a "pioneers" category for nominations.

Who better fits that description that Jobe? Really, who could be more deserving?

Maybe it seems unlikely, but that doesn’t mean giving up the fight.

And happy anniversary Dr. Jobe.

-- Steve Dilbeck