1:47pm

Wed March 21, 2012
Local

Southpaw Surgery Pioneer Tommy John to Speak at MTSU

Former Major League pitcher Tommy John, who saved his career and revolutionized his sport by undergoing a groundbreaking operation, will be the luncheon speaker at MTSU’s 2012 Baseball in Literature and Culture Conference Friday, March 30.

The conference is scheduled from 8:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. in the James Union Building.

John had amassed a 13-3 record for the Los Angeles Dodgers by July 1974 when a ligament in his pitching elbow ruptured. In a three-hour operation in September 1974, Dodgers team surgeon Dr. Frank Jobe replaced the ligament in John’s left elbow with one taken from a tendon in the pitcher’s right wrist. The surgery had been performed previously on wrists and hands, but never on an elbow. 

Following another procedure to reroute a nerve, John underwent 18 months of extensive rehabilitation and strengthening workouts. In the 1976 season, he posted a 10-10 record with a 3.09 earned run average, netting him the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award.

In a 26-season career with six different franchises, John posted 288 wins, 164 of them post-surgery, placing him seventh all-time among Major League southpaws. However, he is best known for what is now called “Tommy John surgery,” a procedure that has extended literally hundreds of athletes’ careers.

To hear Gina Logue’s interview with Tommy John on “MTSU on the Record,” tune to WMOT-FM (89.5 or wmot.org) at 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 26.

Dr. Daniel Anderson will deliver the keynote address, “Renaissance Men: Sportswriting, Popular Culture and Negro League Baseball,” at 8:30 a.m. A professor of literature, composition and American Studies at Dominican University in suburban Chicago, Anderson has published essays on sports in the work of W.E.B. DuBois and on intellectualism in the Negro Leagues.

Other topics to be discussed at the conference include “Traditional Fandoms in the Digital Age,” “The Colorful, Quirky Confines of Nashville’s Sulphur Dell,” “Hip-Hop, the Blogosphere and the Emergence of Baseball Poetry” and “The Cubs and Conservatism, or Why I Hate George Will.”

“The conference has really produced a lot of useful academic work, and it’s really great to see people use this venue as a way of producing viable baseball scholarship,” says Dr. Warren Tormey, an assistant professor of English at MTSU and organizer of the conference.

In fact, Tormey says, a volume of contributions by conference presenters, titled “Baseball and Class,” is due to be published this year in late spring or early summer.

The conference registration fee, which includes breakfast, lunch and the conference program, is $70. To register in advance, mail a check or money order payable to MTSU to Baseball Conference, MTSU Box 97, Murfreesboro, Tenn. 37132. Attendees also may register in person on March 30.

For scheduling or agenda questions, contact Tormey at 615-904-8585 or tormey@mtsu.edu