Dr. Lewis Yocum — one of baseball's most respected arm doctors — has died after a secret battle with cancer. He was 66.
Yocum was a protege of Frank Jobe (who performed the first Tommy John surgery). Along with Dr. James Andrews, Yocum was one of the two tops orthopedic surgeons that baseball players turn to when facing arm issues.
Yocum was also the team doctor for the Los Angeles Angels. The team recently renamed its training room in his honor.
Stars such as Stephen Strasburg and, most recently, Roy Halladay turned to the expertise of Dr. Yocum. (See slideshow above for more). As Erik Kay, the Angels communications director, tweeted: "The list of careers he extended is endless."
Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson, one of Yocum's patients, wrote:
Really saddened by the passing of Dr Yocum, he was the sole reason a lot of pitchers and I had a chance at a career in baseball.#mlbLegend
— C.J. Wilson (@str8edgeracer) May 28, 2013
MLB commissioner Bug Selig issued this statement about Yocum's death:
“Dr. Lewis Yocum was a giant in the field of sports medicine. He was an invaluable resource to not only the Angels franchise but players throughout all of Major League Baseball, team physicians and the members of the Professional Baseball Athletics Trainers Society. All of our Clubs relied upon Dr. Yocum’s trusted opinion and judgment. Throughout the last 36 years, the lives and careers of countless players benefited from his pioneering expertise, and he made our game on the field better as a result. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to his wife Beth, their children, their friends and his many admirers.”