Baseball legend Tommy John to speak at Cortland Crush event

Tommy John

Tommy John

CORTLAND, N.Y. — Tommy John, the former major league baseball player for whom a revolutionary ligament surgery was named, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Cortland Crush “Hot Stove” dinner.

A four-time All Star who pitched in three World Series, John’s 288 career victories is the seventh highest total among left-handed pitchers in MLB history. Pitching for seven teams including the Dodgers and the Yankees over a 26-year career, John picked up more than half his wins after the surgery. He was the oldest player in the Major Leagues at the time of his retirement in 1989.

John was a soft-throwing sinkerball pitcher whose technique induced ground balls and double plays. He was in the middle of an excellent 1974 season with the Dodgers when he permanently damaged the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm, leading to the historical surgical procedure that replaced the elbow ligament with a tendon from his right forearm. In what was considered a miraculous recovery, he returned to the mound in 1976 and pitched for 13 more years.

A 2012-13 survey of active players found that 25 percent of major league pitchers and 15 percent of minor league pitchers had undergone Tommy John surgery at some point in their careers.

“We’re thrilled that Tommy agreed to be our speaker this year,” said Cortland Crush founder and manager Bill McConnell. “It’s going to be a great night.”

The Crush hot Stove is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Ramada Inn Ballroom. Ticket information will be announced at a later date.

The Cortland Crush is entering its fourth season as a member of the New York Collegiate Baseball League, a summertime development league affiliated with Major League Baseball. The Crush, playing its home games at Beaudry Park in the city of Cortland, was the league’s eastern division champion last season.