A four-time All-Star and one of the longest-tenured players in the history of Major League Baseball, Tommy John played for six different teams over 26 seasons before retiring after the 1989 season. A sinkerball pitcher, John induced 604 double plays, the most of any pitcher in recorded history.
His career got a second wind in 1974 after a ground-breaking ligament replacement surgery on his left elbow extended his big league career by 14 seasons. Following the surgery, he won 164 games – one fewer victory than the legendary Sandy Koufax earned over his entire career.
This revolutionary procedure has since been performed on countless baseball players and has paved the way for longevity on the diamond. In 1977 he first reached the 20-win plateau while pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers and two years later he won 21 games for the New York Yankees.
In 1980, he led the rotation of the playoff-bound Yankees’ with a career-high 22 victories, including a major league-leading six shutouts. His 288 career wins are seventh among all southpaws in the Modern Era, and he also appeared in three World Series – two with the Dodgers and one with the Yankees.
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