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“All of our clubs relied upon Dr. Yocum’s trusted opinion and judgment,” Selig said in a statement. “Throughout the last 36 years, the lives and careers of countless players benefited from his pioneering expertise, and he made our game on the field better as a result.”

Zimmermann and Nationals Stephen Strasburg were among the players operated on by Yocum.

“He’s saved a lot of guys’ careers,” Zimmermann said.

Zimmermann recalled Yocum’s dry sense of humor when the doctor checked him to see if the pitcher had a ligament that was big enough in his wrist.

“Obviously, it wasn’t,” he said. “He told me what to do and his stuck out about a half-inch. I said, `Can I just take yours?’ He didn’t smile one bit and said, `You don’t know how many times I’ve heard that?’”

Angels starter C.J. Wilson was among dozens of players tweeting reaction to the news of Yocum’s death.

“He was the sole reason a lot of pitchers and I had a chance at a career in baseball,” tweeted Wilson, who signed a $78 million, five-year contract eight years after having Tommy John surgery in 2003.

Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halladay had consulted with Yocum earlier this month about his injured shoulder.

“There were some players whose elbow or shoulder was trashed, and as brilliant or as great as he was, there wasn’t a whole lot he could do anymore for them,” Smith said. “But he wanted them to know that he wanted them to be able to play catch with their kids and their grandkids.”

The Angels remembered Yocum as “one of baseball’s finest gentlemen and truly outstanding professionals.”

“His talents extended the careers of countless professional athletes, and provided extended quality of life for so many others he advised, treated and operated on during his distinguished career, including 36 years with the Angels,” the team said in a statement.

“His contributions and impact in the medical field will long be remembered across the country. He represents the standard for others in his profession to attain.”

Earlier this month, the Angels named their training room in his honor, with Weaver placing a placard with Yocum’s name above the room’s door in the clubhouse.

Although Yocum never operated on Weaver, the pitcher often talked with him about anything he was feeling.

“He was the one to go to and he always had the right answer,” Weaver said. “It was always about what was in your best interests, and if he didn’t recommend it, he would say it. He was always truthful and honest about all the little nagging injuries that go with trying to get through the course of the season.”

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