James Alfred Joyce III
- Height 6' 0", Weight 190 lb.
- School Bowling Green University
- High School Central Catholic High School
Joyce played baseball while earning a degree in education at Bowling Green State University. He began his umpiring career in the Midwest League in 1978-1979, then moved up to the 1980 Texas League. He spent 1981-1983 in the Pacific Coast League, worked the Dominican League in the winter of 1983, then returned to the PCL for three more years. After a year in the International League, he was back in the PCL for 1988.
Joyce was promoted to the majors in 1989, as part of the American League staff, after having worked as a replacement umpire in 1987 and 1988. He would work the 1994 All-Star Game, 1999 World Series, 2001 All-Star Game, 2001 World Series and 2012 All-Star Game. He was on the field when Nolan Ryan reached 5,000 strikeouts and Robin Yount got his 3,000th hit. In 1996, he helped restrain John Hirschbeck from going after Roberto Alomar after Alomar called Hirschbeck really bitter when Hirschbeck ejected Alomar for spitting at him.
Jim made the spotlight in a bad way on June 2, 2010, when he was working first base in a Detroit Tigers-Cleveland Indians game. With Armando Galarraga working a perfect game with one out to go, Jason Donald grounded to 1B Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera threw to Galarraga, who stepped on the bag before Donald got there. Joyce called Donald safe, costing Galarraga a perfecto. Joyce admitted he made a horrible call and was surprised Armando took it as well as he did - "I don't blame them a bit for anything that was said. I would've said it myself if I had been Galarraga. I would've been the first person in my face, and he never said a word to me."
On August 20, 2012, he was getting ready before a game at Chase Field when he saw a food service worker collapse in front of him, the victim of an apparent heart attack. Joyce performed CPR, saving the woman's life until paramedics could come to her assistance and whisk her to hospital. He then went on to work home plate as scheduled that evening.
In Game 3 of the 2013 World Series, Joyce made the all-important obstruction call when runner Allen Craig got tangled with 3B Will Middlebrooks while trying to score the winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning. Home plate umpire Dana DeMuth pointed to Joyce when he declared Craig safe at home, even though the throw from LF Daniel Nava had beat him. After the game, Joyce received praise from his fellow umpires and from Commissioner Bud Selig for having made the right call under tremendous pressure.
He retired after the 2016 season.