James Madison Pearce
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 6", Weight 180 lb.
- Debut September 8, 1949
- Final Game May 3, 1955
- Born June 9, 1925 in Zebulon, NC USA
- Died July 17, 2005 in Raleigh, NC USA
Righthander Jim Pearce, a tall, slender 19-year-old was signed by the Chicago Cubs as an amateur free agent before the 1944 season. Jim pitched in the low minors for the next four seasons, coming up with a 30-40 record for his four years of work and the Chicago organization gave him his walking papers.
Easily one of the tallest players of his era at 6'6'", Jim was signed as a free agent by the Washington Senators before the 1949 season and was assigned to the Charlotte Hornets of the Tri-State League. He went 10-10 with a 2.38 ERA for Charlotte. He wound up at Griffith Stadium for his first look at the big leagues and got into two games, losing his only decision. In 1950, the Senators kept Jim in the big show for the entire season and he appeared in 20 games, going 2-1 in 56 innings of work.
After a 12-5 year and a 2.98 ERA with the Chattanooga Lookouts in 1952 and a 5-6 record with a 2.94 ERA in 1953, Washington brought him up for a quick look and he fell flat, losing his only decision in four games. It was back to Chattanooga in 1954. He was 17-7 with a 3.04 ERA when the Cincinnati Redlegs purchased him from the Senators on August 7th, for an unannounced sum.
He made two appearances for the Redlegs in 1954 and won his only decision. He had this to say about it. "I was beating the Braves in Milwaukee, 3-1, through eight innings. They loaded the bases in the 9th with Bobby Thomson coming up. I was really nervous about him. It had been a couple of years since he had hit the famous home run. I missed on the first two pitches and manager Birdie Tebbetts came out to talk to me and calm me down. I struck Thomson out on the next three pitches, then got the last hitter to pop up."
In 1955 he was 0-1 for Cincinnati; this gave him a 3-4 lifetime record with a 5.78 ERA in the major leagues and ended that part of his career. Jim stated: "I wasn't up there all that long but did have a chance to see every stadium of the time. Only Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field remain." That same season, he went 12-5 for the Omaha Cardinals of the American Association... too little too late.
In 1957, Pearce had another good season, this time with the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League, winning 15 times and losing 8 with a 3.65 ERA. But he got no calls to return to the big leagues and he would stay in the minors for the rest of his career, finishing up with the Charleston ChaSox in the South Atlantic League in 1959.
Pearce had been in pro baseball for 15 seasons (1944-1959) and in the minor leagues had built a journeyman's record of 136 wins and 132 losses with a 3.89 ERA. After baseball, Pearce returned to his hometown of Zebulon, NC, where he retired in 1985 after 25 years at the Westinghouse Meter Plant in Raleigh, NC. He died on July 17, 2005 at the age of 80 in Raleigh.