Jim's baseball career began in the Firestone Park program with the Akron Yankees, moving on to Garfield High School as their regular shortstop for three years. His steady play helped Garfield win the City Championship in 1950 and into the finals for the State Tournament. He played four years at The University of Akron, being awarded the MVP honors in 1952 and 1953. During the summer months he played for H.O.F. Frank Garcias' Borden Autos on their championship teams for the next five years. During his tenure in the AA League he also played for the Smith Sheriffs, Souvenir Beers, Howe Construction, and Old Dutch Beers. His 10 years of AA play was interrupted by military service in Korea. While stationed their he starred for and later coached the base team. Jim, always a slick fielding shortstop, got his share of timely hits and invariably played on the area's top teams.