Jim is acknowledged to be one of the best catchers in baseball and softball who ever put on a Saskatoon uniform. He was a catcher for a senior softball team, Dorns, when that club won the city softball championship in 1951. He also played for the 1957 Merchants. Jim played several years of semi-pro ball with the Saskatoon Gems and in 1955 was good enough to be selected to the Canadian team that took part in the Global World Series in Milwaukee, competing against seven other clubs from around the world. Canada finished in third place.
Shirley was also a goalkeeper and played his entire minor hockey in Saskatoon. He was in the Detroit Red Wings organization and played for their No. 1 farm team, the Omaha Knights. When his playing days were over Jim turned to coaching youngsters in the Saskatoon Playground League. As an employee of the City of Saskatoon he was responsible for the maintenance of our sports fields, considered by many to be some of the finest in Western Canada.
He was a Kinsmen Sportsman of the Year award winner in 1976.