1989 Greater Flint Afro-American Hall of Fame Inductee
Wife: Eva Jones
Daughters: Jamie, Nancy, Jennifer
Sons: James Jr., Johnny
The Jones family came to Flint in 1919. James grew up on the north end of Flint and attended Northern where he played basketball on the reserve team. Jimmy began playing baseball as a teenager with men who had years of experience. It soon became obvious that Jimmy possessed a lot of natural ability. He made his presence known by his ability to hit. In the early 30’s he played with the Buick 20 team, and Kling’s Brewery, establishing himself as a great outfielder. Jimmy’s baseball career began in 1936. He eventually went on to establish the longest career of any black in the City League history.
The Red Devils were the first team Jimmy managed. Some of the players on the first Red Devil team were Spud Dudley, Bob Ladell, James “Red Horse” Wesley, Ted Carnie, A.J. Grandberry, Sonny Wells, Wayne Thomas, I.W. Truss, Schnebly, and John Thomas. Jimmy had the ability to motivate his players. He would name a great professional player, then tell his team that if they worked at it, they would become just as good because each player had the ability to do so. In return he received the maximum from those players.
During the course of over 13 years as a player-manager, Jimmy completed some great seasons, hitting 372-374-364-353-367. Besides winning the batting championship in 1948, by hitting 468 at the age of 36, he was also selected on 3 all-star teams, stole the most bases (2 years), had the longest hitting streak (13 games) in 1943, and scored the most runs in 1945.
As a result of Jimmy’s intense interest in Flint sports, he inspired Flint bowling alley’s to permit a black bowler’s league. It provided a base of opportunity for blacks to become more competitive in bowling. Jimmy retired from baseball in 1949.