Joey James wanted to play a position. He didn't want to play designated hitter, according to The Los Angeles Times.
So, after mostly playing DH his junior year in college and his first pro season, James welcomed an opportunity to play first base at single-A Clinton in 1990, The Times wrote.
"It made things better just when they told me that I would have a position," James told The Times. "I liked that. It meant I would be more involved in the flow of the game, and I knew that would make a difference."
James was able to make a difference that year with a .289 average and 18 home runs. His professional career, though, lasted just one more season. He never made AA.
James' career began in 1989, taken by the Indians in the 16th round of the previous year's draft out of UCLA.
James went to UCLA out of Orange Coast College. At Orange Coast, James hit 19 home runs in 1986, with 80 RBI. He also had a .433 average, according to The Times.
With the Indians, James played 1989 at short-season Watertown. He hit .233 over 59 games. He only made it into the field once, playing at first base.
For 1990, James moved to the Giants and Clinton. In 125 games, he had that .289 average. He also knocked in 76 runs.
James played 1991 at high-A San Jose. In 126 games there, he had a .267 average, eight home runs and 75 RBI. It was his final season as a pro.
- Los Angeles Times, June 25, 1990: James Can Hit, Proving He Can Field, Too