The Obit For Jim Mills

Jim Mills, former Carolina League president, dies at 89

By MIKE POTTER : The Herald-Sun

Nov 15, 2008

SOUTHERN PINES -- Jim Mills, the one-time Carolina League president who was instrumental to the return of pro baseball to Durham in 1980 after a seven-year absence, died on Friday.

Mr. Mills, who was 89, had suffered a stroke two months ago. Along with his wife of 63 years, Florence, Mr. Mills had been living at the Elmcroft assisted living facility after years of living in Apex.

He is also survived by their four children and several grandchildren.

James Bowie Mills is a member of the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame, and the Carolina League awards the Mills Cup annually to the winner of its postseason championship.

Mr. Mills and his late twin brother Joe attended N.C. State College together in 1940 before leaving to begin their professional baseball careers.

Jim Mills playing career was interrupted in 1942 when he began four years of service with the U.S. Army Air Corps.

From 1946-57, he was variously a player and player-manager for teams in Raleigh, Concord, Mooresville and Rocky Mount, compiling a 308-255 record as a manager with a .310 lifetime minor-league batting average.

After his playing career, he was a minor-league general manager with stops including Fayettteville, Wilson, Asheville and Charleston, W.Va.

In 1972, he became a field representative for the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues.

He was Carolina League president from 1977-83, with his crowning achievement being the expansion of the league from four to eight teams including the restored Durham Bulls franchise in 1980.

Mr. Mills, who along with brother Joe was a long-time basketball official in the Southern and Atlantic Coast conferences, later spent many years as a consultant in the Bulls' front office.

Apex Funeral Home is handling arrangements, which include services to be held Monday at 11 a.m. at the Green Level Baptist Church in Apex.