If you’re a baseball player, coach, the parent of a baseball player, run a team or league, or even are just a fan of the game, I have great news for you: Tommy John and Garrett Berger have officially launched the Tommy John Pitching Academy! The TJPA’s main goal is “to formally educate the youth of today about the art of pitching and most importantly to help prevent arm injuries. We teach how to get batters out!” And who better to teach the art of pitching than Tommy John and Garrett Berger?
Tommy John–after whom the infamous Tommy John surgery is named–earned 288 wins over 26 years of pitching in MLB. He appeared in four All-Star Games from 1968-1980. He had “the surgery” on September 25th, 1974 after which his odds of returning to professional baseball as a pitcher were slim. After spending the entire 1975 season rehabbing, he returned to the mound with the Dodgers in 1976 throwing 207 innings and recording a 10-10 record with a 3.09 ERA. He received both the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award and the Fred Hutchinson Award for Outstanding Character and Courage. John continued to pitch until 1989 and won 164 games after his surgery. The National Baseball Hall of Fame will honor John and his surgeon, Dr. Frank Jobe, during the Hall of Fame Weekend in Cooperstown this July. You can read more about that here.
Garrett Berger was the Florida Marlins’ first selection in the 2001 MLB draft. A two-sport athlete in high school, Berger earned All-State honors in both baseball and football. In 2001 he was the Gatorade State Player of the Year and USA Today State Player of the Year, both for baseball. Just two months after he was drafted, Berger had Tommy John surgery. He spent seven years playing in the minor leagues and in 2007 and 2008 played for the Bridgeport Bluefish with Tommy John as his manager. He has taught baseball lessons for over 10 years and worked with some of the best coaches in the game.
Just the opportunity to meet the TJPA is exciting in and of itself, but it gets better: you can use the TJPA as a fundraiser for your league or travel organization! Visit their website for more information. All proceeds earned from the TJPA benefit the “Let’s Do It” Foundation–so named because that’s what John said to Dr. Jobe when he decided to get his namesake surgery–which supports the STOP Sports Injuries Campaign and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
There are a few ways to connect with the TJPA. Besides visiting their website, you can follow them on Twitter (@TJPA25) and like them on Facebook. They tend to tweet and post short nuggets of information that seem simple but become deeper and more helpful the more you think about them. For example, “Mechanics are the foundation of a pitcher, while execution determines the success of the pitcher,” or “#getbatters out outs>velocity.”
If you book the TJPA for a fundraiser or camp, let us know; we’d love to hear about your experience (and see pictures)!