According to the Los Angeles Angels, Dr, Lewis Yocum, one of the most notable sports medicine practitioners there was, has died.
An orthopedist who followed in the footsteps of Dr. Frank Jobe — the first man to perform Tommy John surgery — Jobe had been the Angels team doctor for many years. In addition, he has performed surgeries and consults for many other teams and players. After Jobe and Dr. James Andrews, Yocum was easily the most commonly-referenced and best known doctor in baseball circles, be it for the surgeries he performed, the second opinions he offered — he was many a fan’s last hope after dire news was reported following a visit to Andrews — or for, sometimes, being involved in a bit of controversy when it came to how best to proceed for a rehabbing pitcher.
Sports medicine has come a long way since the days of trainers telling sore-armed pitchers to rub some dirt on it and get back out there. Guys like Yocum are the reason why.
Bud Selig has released a statement:
“Dr. Lewis Yocum was a giant in the field of sports medicine. 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. Throughout the last 36 years, the lives and careers of countless players benefited from his pioneering expertise, and he made our game on the field better as a result. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to his wife Beth, their children, their friends and his many admirers.”