A strong 6'3",210-pound right-hander from the Springfield Township area, Jim played on numerous championship teams in his younger days before leading Springfield High to the Metro League Titles in 1963 and 1964 as a pitcher/outfielder. He was named the Metro's MVP in 1963. From there he moved to Akron University where he won the Touchdown Club Award in 1966, and Best Pitcher Award in 1968 for the Zips. At the same time, Jim began his AA career in 1966 with the champion Airmatic Valve team and two years later he added the coveted Frank Garcia Memorial Award for his outstanding pitching in 1968 to his list of highlights. Jim was named to five League All-Star teams while hurling for two champion Akron Insulating teams and for Barberton Weather-Seal, Wayne Knolls Farms, Tiny's Orphans, and the "Valves."