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Saturday, March 25, 2023

James Byrd played seven pro seasons, made bigs for two games

James Byrd 1990 Lynchburg Red Sox card, Byrd in fielding pose

Red Sox minor leaguer James Byrd looked ahead in spring 1993 and saw a path to Boston, according to The Associated Press.

That path included players ahead of him already ailing and his own hitting to possibly fill those holes, The AP wrote.

"If it's up to me, I'm going to hit for an average and hit some homers (in Pawtucket) and I'm going to be up there in Boston," Byrd told The AP. "I want to be up there now. Because I think I can play."

Byrd did start the season - his sixth as a pro - at Pawtucket. And he soon did make Boston. His stay, though, proved brief. He appeared in just two games and didn't make it to bat. He never got back.

Byrd's career began in 1987, taken by the Red Sox in the eighth round of the draft out of Seminole State College in Oklahoma. Byrd was also credited as Jim Byrd.

Byrd started with the Red Sox in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He moved to single-A Winter Haven for 1989. He hit .197 over 126 games. He also stole 22 bases.

To start 1989, Byrd went 3 for 5 and scored three runs in a win, after an early morning workout necessitated by a slow stretch, The Stewart News wrote.

"We did everything right tonight," Byrd told The News afterward. "I guess coming out this morning got us going."

Byrd made high-A Lynchburg for 1990, then first saw AA New Britain for 1991. He saw 79 games at AA hit .240 and stole 14.

For 1992, he saw 72 games at AAA Pawtucket. He hit .224. After returning to Pawtucket to start 1993, he made Boston in late May.

Byrd made his major league debut May 31, as an eighth-inning pinch runner. He then returned the next day as a ninth-inning pinch runner. Those two pinch running appearances proved his only appearances in the bigs.

Byrd returned to Pawtucket. He then saw 12 games at New Britain in 1994 and played the rest of that season with the Brewers at AA El Paso. That season marked his last as a pro.

James Byrd 1990 Lynchburg Red Sox card, Byrd in fielding pose

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,147
Made the Majors:1,370-33.0%-X
Never Made Majors:2,777-67.0%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:557
10+ Seasons in the Minors:337

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