The baseball world lost a legend on Tuesday when Dr. Lewis Yocum passed away at age 66. Dr. Yocum was a renowned orthopedic surgeon who saved the careers of many big-leaguers and helped to pioneer new surgeries that extend the careers of many athletes today. Without Dr. Yocum, many injuries that were once considered career-ending would still be that way today.
For the past 36 years, Dr. Yocum served as the team orthopedist for the Los Angeles Angels, but also operated on other stars like Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg and C.J. Wilson before he signed with the Angels. In addition, Yocum operated on folks who weren’t professional athletes and that’s what Angels manager Mike Scioscia admired most about him.
“It didn’t matter if you were a weekend golfer or a superstar pitcher,” Scioscia told ESPN. “Dr. Yocum had the same feeling of compassion for you, and I think that’s what made him a special person. He had a presence about him, and our guys had total confidence in anything he told them.”
Dr. Yocum was more than just a doctor to many players; Jordan Zimmerman, Jered Weaver, Wilson and Strasburg were just a few of many athletes who spoke of the sincere compassion showed on a regular basis by Dr. Yocum, which is what they say “made him special.” It’s not often that the passing of a surgeon hits a sport like this, but Dr. Yocum was truly one in a million and he’ll be greatly missed.