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What a life: From baseball star to evangelist

Billy Sunday preaching

A baseball star, Billy Sunday played for the Chicago White Stockings in the 1880s and later the Philadelphia Phillies.

Born during the Civil War in a log cabin in Iowa, his father, who was a Union Army soldier, died of pneumonia when Billy was a month old. At age 15, Billy Sunday struck out on his own, working several jobs before playing baseball. His career took off when he was recruited by A.G. Spalding, owner of the White Stockings and founder of Spalding Sporting Goods Company. Billy Sunday became one of the most popular athletes in the nation.

While leaving a Chicago saloon with some other players in 1886, he heard a group of gospel singers on the street from the Pacific Garden Mission. Attracted by the hymns, as they were the same ones his mother used to sing, Billy Sunday went to listen. He began


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