Dr. James Andrews is a simple man. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and you wouldn't expect him to be worldly renowned.
But he is very famous. Andrews, an orthopedic surgeon, is known as one of the best surgeons for knee, shoulder, and elbow injuries.
Because knee, shoulder, and elbow injuries happen nearly every day in sports, Andrews has operated on many famous athletes. He is responsible for salvaging Drew Brees' career by operating on his shoulder. He has worked on Jim Thome. He has worked on Freddy Garcia. The list of players who had their career extended by Andrews goes on and on.
Some very famous athletes would be unknown as professionals if Andrews didn't operate on them. Imagine if Roger Clemens' career only lasted two years, and he is now selling cars in Texas rather than undergoing a steroid investigation throughout the Northeast. Well, that almost happened. After two years with the Red Sox, Clemens had his career nearly end when he had a serious shoulder injury.
And who saved Clemens? Andrews did.
Imagine Mariano Rivera, now a future Hall-of-Famer, being an unknown person who you wouldn't particularly notice walking on a street in the Bronx. That almost happened also. All of Rivera's saves and wins came after Andrews reconstructed his right elbow.
Injured pitchers seem to worship Andrews, as they almost always go to him for a second opinion on their UCL or rotator cuff. Andrews has saved a lot of baseball players, including Little Leaguers.
You know that pitch count rule that your kid's coach is always complaining about? It wasn't your nearest pharmacist who developed that rule.
James Andrews developed pitch counts for Little Leaguers in order to save youngsters' arms.
He has researched a ton more than your nearest orthopedic doctor. Andrews founded the American Sports Medicine Institute. With the work done at ASMI, Andrews has developed the Little League pitch count rule, long toss programs, and much more to help prevent injuries to youth pitchers.
Largely because of Andrews, sports medicine is a highly practiced and highly funded business. Andrews seems to know the latest discoveries in sports medicine, including Tommy John surgery.
Tommy John surgery was not invented by Andrews, but he pretty much perfected it. John Smoltz and Rivera have both enjoyed long, productive careers as pitchers after Andrews operated on their elbows.
Two future Hall-of-Famers saved with the same operation by the same guy?
Not a bad resume to have.
Andrews has pioneered sports medicine, and has salvaged many pitchers' careers. He doesn't brag about his work, and he only tries to get better.
But I know pitchers all over the world are thanking James Andrews for his help.