Tommy John will be 43 next week, but he's pitching with an arm that is only 12 years old. It was in 1974 that Dr. Frank Jobe rebuilt his left elbow and saved his career.
John gave up five hits in seven innings Tuesday at Minneapolis to pitch the New York Yankees to a 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins, his second in a row since rejoining the club.
Until the Jobe operation it appeared that John's career was over. Since the surgery John has won 20 games three times and has a career total of 261 victories.
When both the Angels and Oakland gave up on John last season, and he couldn't make the Yankees in the spring, it seemed John's career was over.
Others may have given up, but not John. He stayed in shape, and when the Yankees had to place pitchers John Montefusco and Ed Whitson on the disabled list, John was ready.
Last Wednesday, John pitched the Yankees to a 5-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox, going seven strong innings. Against the Twins, he was superb for six innings, giving up just two singles and a homer, all to Ron Washington.
After giving up three runs in the seventh in a rally started by shortstop Bobby Meacham's error, he gave way to Dave Righetti, who pitched two scoreless innings for his 10th save. The Yankees beat Bert Blyleven with an unearned run in the eighth. Ken Griffey doubled home Dave Winfield.
Cleveland 3, Texas 2--The bases weren't loaded, but Pat Tabler pretended they were. He hit a home run on a 3-and-2 pitch in the 10th inning at Cleveland to end the Indians' four-game losing streak.
Don Schulze held the Rangers to one hit through seven innings, but they chased him and tied the score in the eighth on Pete O'Brien's run-scoring single with two out.
Rich Yett held the Rangers scoreless and struck out four in 2 innings of relief for his second victory.
Kansas City 4, Detroit 2--Jack Morris and Bret Saberhagen have been having their troubles this season, but in this duel at Kansas City, they both pitched well and had nothing to show for it.
Hal McRae's two-run homer in the 11th won it. Morris gave up four hits and struck out nine in eight innings. Saberhagen gave up eight hits and struck out seven in nine innings.
Baltimore 3, Chicago 1--First baseman Bobby Bonilla fumbled a dribbler by pinch-hitter Larry Sheets, then made a wild underhand toss to first, allowing John Shelby to score the winning run in the eighth inning at Baltimore.
It was the fourth win in a row for the Orioles and the White Sox, despite a sweep of the three-game weekend series at Cleveland, have lost eight of their last 11.
Seattle 8, Milwaukee 5--Danny Tartabull had four hits, including two triples, and drove in two runs, and Pete Ladd pitched 3 innings of scoreless relief, as the Mariners beat the Brewers at Seattle.
Ladd came on in the sixth inning to record his second save after Seattle starter Mike Morgan (3-3) had given up five runs, all with two outs. Tim Leary (3-3) took the loss, allowing six runs in four innings.
Oakland 6, Toronto 3--Dave Kingman, who was in an 0-for-12 slump, hit Dennis Lamp's first pitch for a three-run home run with one out in the 10th inning at Oakland to give the A's the victory. It was Kingman's seventh homer of the season.