Billy Sunday Facts: Learn More About This Influential Evangelist

Christian Mba
Nov 01, 2023 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Dec 14, 2021
Billy Sunday facts will tell more about the professional baseball player.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.2 Min

If you have ever dug into the glorious history of American Baseball, you must have come across the name – Billy Sunday.

William Ashley "Billy" Sunday, was a renowned American outfielder in the National Baseball League and is still considered as one the most prominent figures of the game in the 20th century. Billy Sunday was born on November 19, 1862, in the Story County of Iowa, in the United States.

Sunday was born in a poor family and had to spend a few years at the Soldiers' Orphan in Iowa after which he sought jobs and later started playing for baseball teams. He was famous for his sheer speed and flexibility which gave him lots of opportunities during the eight years in which he played for many major leagues.

Billy was an excellent base runner, good fielder, and an average hitter.

Billy’s interest in evangelical Christianity brought him back to the spotlight. He left baseball in the 1880s and joined the Christian ministry after which he developed the skills necessary for a budding evangelist of the Midwest.

By the start of the 20th century, Billy Sunday became the most renowned evangelist of the country with scores of followers across America. He gained an immense following due to his attractive deliveries and eloquence in his sermons.

He gave speeches in the largest cities of America and had the ability to appeal to one of the largest crowd gatherings ever witnessed by any evangelist.

Did you know that Billy Sunday worked as a stable boy for Colonel John Scott in Nevada when he escaped from the orphanage after he and his elder brother were sent there by their mother?

Billy Sunday’s journey as an evangelist proved profitable for him as he was able to make large sums of money through campaigning and delivering sermons and was even invited to eat with and address the rich of the country.

Even after Billy Sunday gave up baseball, his dedication and passion for the game never diminished. Throughout his life, Billy gave opinions and interviews on the game in press, umpired in multiple matches, and even attended these matches whenever he had the time for it. Additionally, he passed away on November 6, 1935.

After reading about his baseball team, his Christian life, and his belief in Christ, also check Babe Ruth facts and Bill Pickett facts.

Fun Facts About Billy Sunday

As mentioned, Billy Sunday was a renowned baseball player in the baseball National League in the 19th century. Although Sunday had poor financial backing, his incapacity could never keep him away from the baseball ground.

During his initial days, Billy worked in almost all sorts of jobs to make ends meet. With excellent on-ground qualities, passionate outlook, and marvelous abilities, Billy Sunday set benchmarks especially with his skills of hitting and running.

But, with the advent of the 20th century, Billy’s ardor towards Christianity baffled his fans. He left baseball and adopted evangelical Christianity after denouncing the sport in the 1910s. His career as an evangelist was also studded with stars. His eloquent and charismatic delivery pleased millions of his followers across the United States.

Billy was also regularly invited to multiple social gatherings which increased his influence amongst the wealthy of the society.

In his long career as an evangelist, Billy attracted more than a million followers and even though his popularity decreased towards the end of his career, Sunday is still regarded as one of the most influential and prominent evangelists in the history of America.

Facts About Billy Sunday’s Career

Speed was the greatest asset of Billy Sunday. His career took off after he was launched by Cap Anson after his aunt commemorated Sunday’s performance. As a result, in 1883, A.G. Spalding, the then president of the Chicago White Stockings, signed Billy into the team for the National League.

His initial performance was not that impressive as he managed to get his first hit after more than seven strikeouts in four matches. He was a temporary player during the first four seasons of his career in Chicago.

Billy Sunday’s sheerness was visible both on-field as well as outside it.

In a 100 yd (91.4 m) dash run organized by the White Stockings, Billy defeated his counterpart Arlie Latham (who was at the time the fastest runner in the association) by more than 10 ft (3 m) His personality and athleticism made him popular amongst baseball lovers as well as in his crew.

His credibility later earned him the post of the team’s business manager and Anson gave Billy the responsibility to handle ticket receipts and pay for their travel expenses.

By 1887, Billy became the regular right fielder of Chicago as a permanent replacement for a teammate. But sadly, Billy played only 50 games in the season due to an on-ground injury.

The following year, he became a part of the Pittsburg Alleghenys for the season and was also their starting center fielder. Although the seasons for 1888 and 1889 didn’t go well for his team, his performance in the center field earned him a place amongst the league leaders.

As a Christian preacher, Billy preached temperance to his audience.

Facts About Billy Sunday’s Education

As already mentioned Billy Sunday was born in a poor family near Ames in Iowa. Upon his father's death in 1862, Billy went to live with his grandparents along with his family. He along with his brother were sent to the Soldiers' Orphans' home located in Davenport.

Here Billy received acceptable levels of primary education and also developed a liking towards athletics. At 14, Billy started working with Colonel John Scotts and was soon offered a place to live by the Scotts who also arranged for his studentship at the Nevada High School.

Even though Billy didn’t have a high school degree, his education was still considered by the standards of the times. Later, in 1880, Billy Sunday moved to Marshalltown where he joined the fire brigade to improve his built. Meanwhile, he also started playing baseball tournaments organized by the fire brigade department and later joined the town’s team.

Facts About Billy Sunday As An Evangelist

On one evening of the 1887 season, Billy along with his teammates were out for their day off. On the way, they stopped at the Pacific Garden Mission to listen to preaching.

On hearing the hymns sung by gospel preachers, Sunday started attending regular meetings of the mission. It was at this point that Billy decided to adopt Christianity.

It is contended that even though Billy‘s teammates were accustomed to drinking alcohol and gambling, Sunday never did any of these. After his conversion, Billy took a number of vows that even changed his behavior and soon he started delivering speeches in churches and missionaries.

As a follower of Jesus Christ and a preacher of Christianity, Billy always preached Prohibition in Boston, New York, and various other cities. It was due to his efforts and preaching that the US Congress passed The Eighteenth Amendment in 1919 which imposed a complete ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol in America.

However, this amendment was later taken back by the Twenty-first Amendment in 1933. Interestingly, the Eighteenth Amendment was the only one to be repealed in the history of the American constitution.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Billy Sunday facts: learn more about this influential evangelist then why not take a look at Bill Russell facts, or Billy Collins facts.

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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