Vin Scully

Tommy John surgery: From cutting edge to commonplace

PASADENA, Calif. — His career is dwarfed by his incision.

"It's the ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction while using the Palmaris longus tendon," he said. "That's why they call it Tommy John surgery."

But it is actually the Frank Jobe surgery.

The Dodgers' orthopedist performed the first one in 1974 on John, who recovered to win 20 or more games in three different seasons. He went 6-3 with a 2.65 ERA in 14 playoff games.

The career that was supposed to end with one faulty pitch on July 17, 1974, wound up lasting 26 years, one short of the all-time record. He got 166 of his 288 career victories after exposing his left arm to a knife that...