On Tuesday morning, some sad news emerged from the Los Angeles Angels‘ clubhouse, as the team announced that lead physician and orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum has passed away. He was 65.
Yocum, who was battling cancer, has played a major medical role in baseball’s history and has been tabbed as the protege to Dr. Frank Jobe, the man who invented Tommy John Surgery. The news of his passing comes as sad day — not only for the Angels — but for baseball as a whole.
Back in June of 2010, Yocum was ranked by Baseball Prospectus as the No. 2 orthopedic physician in the sport. He was a graduate of the University of Illinois and had been a Sports Medicine Fellow at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic.
Yocum has performed numerous Tommy John procedures throughout his career as a medical physician, including the 2010 work on Washington Nationals‘ pitching phenom, Stephen Strasburg. The surgical procedure that has saved so many athletic careers, has been in use since its inception in 1974.
Just a few weeks ago, the Angels took the gratitude to name their training room after Yocum, thanking him for his meaning and services to the organization. That decision holds even more barring now, given Yocum’s passing.
Yocum is a figure in baseball’s medical world and one that will surely be missed by many. To all the athletes whose careers received a second chance, Yocum is among those to keep in mind.
Rest in Peace.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS