St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright learned this week that he will miss the entire 2011 season with a torn ligament in his pitching elbow. But his spirits were considerably lifted this morning when he woke up and found a crisp, $1 bill under his pillow where he had left his torn ligament last night.
Wainwright ran right downstairs and showed the dollar to his wife, who told him it was his reward for being brave through the painful injury. She also said the appearance of the money explained the noise she heard in their house last night.
"I remember hearing some noise downstairs like someone had forced open the backdoor," said Michelle Wainwright. "But I think I thought I was dreaming. And then, a few minutes later, I think I saw some old man standing near our bed. That must have been Tommy John, the Elbow Fairy."
Because John has no magical powers like the Tooth Fairy, he is left to force his way into the homes of pitchers who have undergone Tommy John Surgery in order to fulfill his Elbow Fairy role. That has caused several unfortunate incidents. In 2008 he was attacked and mauled by Tim Hudson's boxer pug after climbing through a first floor window late at night, and in 2003 A.J. Burnett's girlfriend stabbed him in the neck with a kitchen knife. He has also been arrested several times.
Yet John says he is dedicated to his Elbow Fairy job.
"I remember what it was like to go through the procedure," said John, who hurt his elbow in 1974. "I would have loved to have been cheered up with a dollar. I guess it's not much now, but in '74 a dollar was a week's salary in major league baseball."
John, who hasn't played since 1989, says he also usually steals some jewelry and electronics on his way out "for services rendered and to make ends meet."