Revival History – Billy Sunday

Billy SundayWilliam Ashley “Billy” Sunday was noted first as a professional baseball player, and then a more famous evangelist.

Born in Ames, Iowa, Sunday grew up the son of a single mother. The family endured significant poverty during his childhood. His father, also named William, enlisted in the Iowa Infantry Volunteers four months before Sunday was born. He died, a month after Sunday was born, of an unknown disease contracted in Missouri while on duty.

At the age of 12, Sunday and his older brother were sent to Soldier’s Orphanage in Glenwood, Iowa. Billy ran away from the orphanage two years later and ended up as a stable boy tending shetland ponies.

Cap Anson, future baseball Hall of Famer, saw Sunday play after being told by a coach that he should come see Sunday compete. Anson signed Sunday on to the league leading Chicago White Stockings. Although Sunday struck out his first thirteen times at bat he was acknowledged to be the champion sprinter of the National League. At one point Sunday raced, Arlie Latham, champion sprinter of the American League, and Sunday beat him by fifteen feet. Sunday played professional baseball for eight years for the Chicago, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia teams. Continue reading