"He gave me back the thing I love," said Hershiser, who went on to pitch 10 more seasons and in two more World Series with the Cleveland Indians.

The two medical breakthroughs "revolutionized baseball because they have kept players on the field," Kremchek said.

Jobe, whose elegant hand strokes in the operating room have been compared to those of a symphony conductor, repeatedly said he would rather be remembered for the strides he made that kept athletes off the operating table.

In 1979, he established a biomechanics laboratory at Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood and pioneered motion analysis on the act of throwing. Rotator cuffs, a series of muscles that control overhead shoulder motion that can be abused by pitching, were the subject of the first study.

"We developed a lab that would photograph at 500 frames a second," Jobe said in 1989. "We put electrodes in the muscles of the rotator cuffs, and we also coordinated that with pictures so we would know which was active at which part of the pitch."

Rotator cuff injuries became less common, Jobe said, because of knowledge gained in his laboratory. The lab conducts studies in sports other than baseball, including running, tennis and swimming, and develops exercise programs to prevent and rehabilitate injuries.

Frank Wilson Jobe, the son of a postman and farmer, was born July 16, 1925, in Greensboro, N.C., and grew up there. His high school baseball career did not presage his impact on the sport — he spent most of the time on the bench.

After graduation, Jobe joined the Army's 101st Airborne Division in 1943 as a medical supply sergeant. Working with doctors who risked their lives on the front lines, he realized his calling.

"These guys would be operating in tents with bullets and shrapnel flying around," Jobe told The Times in 1991. "These guys were my heroes."

He vowed to treat any athlete who needed help, regardless of whether he ended up helping an opposing team, just as military doctors tended to the enemy.

"I consider myself a doctor for individuals, not teams," Jobe said. "You don't use medicine as a means of winning."

Back home after the war, he attended junior college in Tennessee and what is now La Sierra University in Riverside. After earning his medical degree from Loma Linda University in 1956, Jobe spent three years in family practice so he could pay off school loans.

While working in the emergency room during his three-year residency at Los Angeles County General Hospital, he became interested in orthopedic medicine. He also hit it off with an orthopedic specialist, Dr. Robert Kerlan.

After completing his residency in 1964, Jobe offered to help Kerlan with his workload. They sealed their partnership with a handshake.

"We really had a wonderful relationship for 35 years," Jobe said of Kerlan in 1998. "It was almost like a marriage; we were very, very close."

There was no jealousy between them, "and you usually can't say that about doctors," Kerlan told the Sporting News in 1993, three years before his death at 74.

The Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic opened in Inglewood in 1965 and later moved to Westchester. The Dodgers were already a client since Kerlan had been named their team physician when they moved from Brooklyn in 1958. Eventually the Angels, Lakers, Kings, Ducks and other teams joined their roster.

Baseball got a preview of what Jobe could do when he removed bone chips from the elbow of Dodger pitcher Johnny Podres in 1964. Post-surgery, Podres pitched two more seasons.

When Jobe operated on John a decade later, the ulnar nerve, which provides strength in the hands and fingers, became irritated during surgery. Weeks after the operation John's left arm dangled at his side, his numb hand curled into a claw.

A second operation kept secret from the public was performed three months after the first to shift the nerve to the back of the arm and allow the tendon to learn to become a ligament.

John said Jobe gave him a "one in 100" chance of pitching again.

"That was a wild guess," Jobe said in 1989. "I didn't have any idea what the chances were."

The ever-modest Jobe admitted "it was probably the one thing in my career that stands out" but gave "the intelligent, cooperative" John credit for taking his 18-month rehabilitation seriously.

John had 288 pitching victories in his 26-year career, and more than half — 164 — came after the surgery. He went on to play for the Angels, the Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees.

Former Dodger relief pitcher Eric Gagne, once one of the most dominant closers in baseball, was among those forever linked to Tommy John when he had the surgery in 1997. While still in the minor leagues, David Wells had the operation in 1985 and pitched a perfect game for the New York Yankees in 1998.

Jobe resisted his own fame, refusing to sign an autograph for the son of a star athlete because he thought the request ridiculous.

Jobe, a resident of Brentwood, is survived by his wife of 54 years, the former Beverly Anderson; their sons Christopher (an orthopedic surgeon), Meredith, Cameron and Blair; and eight grandchildren.

Nelson is a former Times staff writer.

news.obits@latimes.com