Jim Kern is born in Gladwin, Michigan.
Despite spending nearly his entire career in relief, Kern debuted with the Cleveland Indians in 1974 with a complete game 1-0 loss against the Baltimore Orioles on September 6. He developed into a strong reliever, winning ten games and saving 15 in 1976 before three straight All-Star seasons beginning in 1977.
Kern was an All-Star for the last time with the Rangers in 1979 and finished with his best career numbers, going 13-5 in 71 games of relief with a 1.57 ERA and 29 saves while finishing fourth in the Cy Young voting. His numbers tailed off after that and he began to bounce around the league, playing at the Major League level with the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, and Milwaukee Brewers after. He signed back with the Indians at the age of 37 in 1986 and was 1-1 in 16 games with a 7.90 ERA and was released midseason in what would be the final season of his 13-year career.