t’s impossible to talk Tommy John Surgery (TJS) success stories without starting with the man himself. Through the 1974 season, Tommy John had pitched 2,152 2/3 major league innings, struck out 1,273 batters, and posted a 2.97 ERA which was good for a league-adjusted 116 ERA+. He wasn’t a Hall of Famer, but he’d had a very, very good major league career. When his elbow gave out that year it seemed likely that the 31-year-old’s career was at an end.
Instead he elected to have the experimental UCL reconstruction surgery and went through a grueling year of rehabilitation before returning to the majors in April 1976. John went on to pitch another 14 (!) seasons in the majors before finally hanging up his spikes in 1989 at age 46. His post-TJS statistics are inspiring: a 164-125 win-loss record, 2,544 2/3 innings pitched, 972 strikeouts, 3.66 ERA, and a 107 ERA+.