Dr. Frank Jobe, the longtime Los Angeles Dodgers team physician who performed the first career-saving Tommy John elbow ligament reconstruction surgery in 1974, has died at age 88, the club announced Thursday.

Jobe, a sports medicine pioneer, was associated with the Dodgers for 50 years. He was best known for his revolutionary surgery on John, a pitcher for the Dodgers, in September 1974 that saved the left-hander's career. John went on to pitch 14 more seasons in the major leagues.

The procedure allowed countless others to continue to play the game since then.

"Frank Jobe is a Hall of Famer in every sense of the word," Dodgers president Stan Kasten said. "His dedication and professionalism in not only helping the Dodgers but athletes around the world is unparalleled. He was a medical giant and pioneer and many athletes in the past and the future can always thank Frank for finding a way to continue their careers."

Jobe served as an Army medic in World War II and landed at Normandy to care for the 101st Airborne during the Battle of the Bulge. It was then that he decided to become a doctor in order to help others.

"I was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Dr. Frank Jobe, a great gentleman whose work in baseball revolutionized sports medicine," baseball commissioner Bud Selig said. "Since 1974, his groundbreaking Tommy John surgery has revitalized countless careers, especially those of our pitchers. His wisdom elevated not only the Dodgers, the franchise he served proudly for a half-century, but all of our clubs."

Former and current players offered their condolences on Twitter.

"Today I lost a GREAT friend. Dr Frank Jobe passed this morning. #pioneer #letsdoitfoundation" John tweeted.

"He change my life!! Gave me back my career!! I will miss him and I am eternally grateful!!!" former Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser said.

"Just saw Dr Jobe passed away. He invented the surgery that gave me a chance to have a 10+yr as an MLB player. Baseball owes him a lot!" Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson said.