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James Alfred Joyce III (born October 3, 1955) is a former American professional baseball umpire. He worked in the American League (AL) from 1987 to 1999 and throughout Major League Baseball (MLB) from 2000 to 2016. He wore uniform number 66 for MLB and number 6 while in the AL. His strike call was extremely loud and enthusiastic, similar to that of retired umpire Bruce Froemming.

Jim Joyce
Jim Joyce 2013.jpg
Joyce in 2013
Born: (1955-10-03) October 3, 1955 (age 63)
Toledo, Ohio
May 23, 1987
Career highlights and awards

He became infamous for an incorrect safe call in Armando Galarraga's near-perfect game in June 2010. Prior to this, an ESPN The Magazine poll of MLB players called Joyce the best umpire in the game. He also called an obstruction rule in the bottom of the ninth in Game 3 of the 2013 World Series that helped the St. Louis Cardinals to a win over the Boston Red Sox. In 2012, Joyce was promoted to interim crew chief, replacing injured umpire John Hirschbeck. His crew consisted of Jim Reynolds, Mike DiMuro, and James Hoye. Joyce was promoted to regular crew chief prior to the 2013 season.[1]

Early lifeEdit

Joyce was born in Toledo, Ohio, on October 3, 1955. He grew up in Toledo, where he graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1973.[2] He then attended Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, where he played baseball.[2] In 1977, he graduated from Bowling Green with a bachelor of science degree in education.[2]

Professional careerEdit

After graduating from Bowling Green State University in 1977, he umpired in the Midwest League (1978–1979), the Florida Instructional League (1978), the Texas League (1980), the Pacific Coast League (1981–1986, 1988), the International League (1987), and the Dominican League (1983). In 1989, Joyce was promoted from the Pacific Coast League to the American League upon the death of MLB umpire Nick Bremigan.[3]

Joyce umpired in the All-Star Game (1994, 2001, and 2012),[citation needed] the Division Series (1995, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2012, and 2013),[citation needed] the League Championship Series (1997, 2004, 2006, and 2007),[citation needed] and the World Series (1999, 2001, and 2013).[4] ESPN The Magazine released an anonymous poll of 100 current MLB players that voted Joyce the best overall umpire in baseball. For the 2012 season, Joyce served as an interim crew chief due to the absence of the injured John Hirschbeck.[5]

On August 20, 2012, Joyce saved the life of an Arizona Diamondbacks employee by administering CPR to the woman who was in cardiac arrest at Chase Field.[6]

Armando Galarraga's near-perfect gameEdit

On June 2, 2010, Joyce made an incorrect call, as the first base umpire, which cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game. Joyce tearfully spoke with the media following the game and admitted he made a mistake: "I just cost the kid a perfect game."[7] Joyce and Galarraga received praise throughout the sports world for the manner in which they handled the situation; reflecting an earlier ESPN poll, players such as Mariano Rivera spoke on the record about Joyce's superb career of umpiring.[8]

Joyce had been the second base umpire for Dallas Braden's perfect game on May 9, 2010, less than a month before the Galarraga game.[9] He was also the first base umpire for the no-hitter pitched by Carlos Zambrano on September 14, 2008.[10]

In 2011, Joyce, Galarraga, and author Daniel Paisner collaborated on a book based on the game, Nobody's Perfect: Two Men, One Call, and a Game for Baseball History. Following the book's release, MLB did not allow Joyce to work any games in which Galarraga would be playing, to avoid any appearance of impropriety due to their business relationship.[11]

Other notable gamesEdit

In September 1996, Joyce restrained fellow umpire John Hirschbeck when Hirschbeck angrily charged into the Baltimore Orioles clubhouse to confront Roberto Alomar. The day before the confrontation, Alomar had made comments about how Hirschbeck's attitude changed following the death of his son.[12]

Working third base during Game 3 of the 2013 World Series, Joyce determined Allen Craig of the St. Louis Cardinals had been obstructed when Boston Red Sox infielder Will Middlebrooks went diving after an errant throw by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.[13] [14]Craig was then awarded the winning run when home plate umpire Dana DeMuth enforced the obstruction called by Joyce.

Honors and awardsEdit

In 2009, Joyce was inducted into the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame.


Joyce announced his retirement on January 16, 2017.[15]

Personal lifeEdit

Joyce, who lives in Washington County, Oregon, is married and has two children.[16] In 2000, he was inducted into his high school's sports hall of fame.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "3 MLB Umps Hired, 3 Retired, 3 New Crew Chiefs". Close Call Sports. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Jim Joyce – 66". Umpires: Roster. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  3. ^ "Umpire Moves Up". The Vindicator. April 12, 1989. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Source: 2012 MLB Umpire Crews". Close Call Sports. April 4, 2012.
  6. ^ Miller, Scott. Umpire Jim Joyce makes the best call of the year -- before the game. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  7. ^ "Missed call leaves Detroit's Armando Galarraga one out shy of perfect game". June 3, 2010. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  8. ^ Mitchell, David. "Perfect Game, Blown Call: Galarraga, Joyce Victims of Baseball's Imperfections". Bleacher Report. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  9. ^ Braden's perfect game 19th ever and second straight against Rays Retrieved July 24, 2012
  10. ^ Zambrano masters Astros en route to first no-hitter for Cubs in 36 years Retrieved July 24, 2012
  11. ^ Nelson, Amy (June 1, 2011). "MLB will not let Jim Joyce umpire Armando Gallaraga's games". Retrieved June 2, 2011.
  12. ^ "Alomar Aftermath Continues". Lawrence Journal-World. September 29, 1996. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
  13. ^ "World Series gets must-see moment, even if it's obscured by a little dirt". Yahoo Sports. October 27, 2013. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Jim Joyce retires, Emmel and Holbrook promoted". Close Call Sports. January 16, 2017. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  16. ^ Alger, Tyson (June 3, 2010). "Jim Joyce's response to mistake earns him praise". The Oregonian. Retrieved June 4, 2010.

External linksEdit