Retired MLB All-Star Tommy John, 77, is hospitalized with COVID-19 and has been ...

Tommy John, the former Major League All-Star pitcher and namesake of a common elbow surgery, has contracted COVID-19, but is insisting that he is fine despite being placed on oxygen.

John, 77, told the Daily Beast about his current health situation from a hospital bed near his Indio, California home, claiming that he would 'leave right now' if he were allowed.

'You're either going to live or you're going to die,' he said.

Tommy John (right), the former Major League All-Star pitcher and namesake of a common elbow surgery, has contracted COVID-19, but is insisting that he is fine despite being placed on oxygen at a California hospital. His son Tommy John III (left) is a pandemic denier

Tommy John (right), the former Major League All-Star pitcher and namesake of a common elbow surgery, has contracted COVID-19, but is insisting that he is fine despite being placed on oxygen at a California hospital. His son Tommy John III (left) is a pandemic denier

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John famously underwent elbow surgery in 1976 to repair ligament damage. The surgery was a success and he pitched 14 more seasons, mostly with the Yankees. Tommy John surgery, as it's now called, is credited with saving countless pitchers' careers

John famously underwent elbow surgery in 1976 to repair ligament damage. The surgery was a success and he pitched 14 more seasons, mostly with the Yankees. Tommy John surgery, as it's now called, is credited with saving countless pitchers' careers

John's skepticism about vaccines and medicine is peculiar for an athlete who has become synonymous with medical advancement after his 1976 elbow procedure allowed him to return prominence and play another 14 seasons, garnering three All-Star selections over that time. 'I've known and loved Tommy John since 1979,' former sportscaster Keith Olbermann joked on Twitter. 'Looks like now it's his brain that needs Tommy John Surgery'

John's skepticism about vaccines and medicine is peculiar for an athlete who has become synonymous with medical advancement after his 1976 elbow procedure allowed him to return prominence and play another 14 seasons, garnering three All-Star selections over that time. 'I've known and loved Tommy John since 1979,' former sportscaster Keith Olbermann joked on Twitter. 'Looks like now it's his brain that needs Tommy John Surgery'

However, his longtime girlfriend Cheryl Zeldin told the Daily Beast that his situation is much more complicated. 

As he later confirmed to the Daily Beast, John has been hospitalized four times since he began having breathing problems and motor control issues in early December. And on one occasion, his oxygen saturation dropped dangerously low.

But when asked if he really needs to remain on oxygen, John snapped back: 'These people here would put you on anything!'

He also questioned whether or not his symptoms were related to COVID-19, and if Daily Beast reporter Emily Shugerman was a blonde (she describes herself as a 'light brunette' in the article)

It's a peculiar stance for an athlete who has become synonymous with medical

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