Tommy John happy surgery named after him isn’t for hemorrhoids

Getty Images

Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch caught up with Hall of Very Good pitcher Tommy John.

Over all John seems rather cranky when it comes to baseball these days. He hasn’t watched a game in ten years and has little interest in it. Part of it seems to stem from his displeasure at having to settle for being in the Hall of Very Good as opposed to the Hall of Fame, as he believes his 288 career wins justifies his induction. We’ll cut him some slack for personal bias and personal pride on that, but the less one dwells on his “my wins and Sandy Koufax’s wins are equal” argument the better.

Objectively speaking, John was good for a very long time and one might reasonably grade him upward for being the first to come back from the surgery that bears his name, so there is a case there. I tend to think that he falls short, though, particularly given the pitcher-friendly era in which he played and particularly given how he fares in comparison to the top pitchers of the 1960s and 70s. But again, his own mileage understandably varies.

Part of John’s crankiness also has to do with the nature of today’s game. He doesn’t care for managers being told what to do by front offices and doesn’t see a ton of similarity between the game he played and the game as it is today. Again, some slack can be cut here, I think.

Everyone has a greater affinity for the game they knew and loved at a certain point in their lives, be it the one they watched as a kid or the one they played a younger man. It’s unfortunate when love of that particular game works to preclude one from enjoying the current game, but it’s fairly common I suppose, particularly for guys of a certain vintage. As it is, his specific complaints touch on a lot of things we complain about around here from time to time so, again, let’s let Tommy John be Tommy John.

But even if that’s too much for you — even if you think he’s being too grumpy of an old man about all of this — can we at least acknowledge that he has a damn good point here?

To have your name attached to a surgery rather than just a ligament attached to your elbow does have its recurring moments of notoriety.

“It’s better to have a ligament replacement surgery than hemorrhoids surgery,” cracked John.

You can’t argue with that, man.