Nov. 19 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of William Ashley “Billy” Sunday.
Born into poverty in 1862 near Ames, Iowa, and raised in an orphanage his speed on the base paths won him a try out with Adrian “Cap” Anson and the Chicago White Stockings (now Cubs) after being put on a train from Marshalltown, Iowa. Sunday played professional baseball for nine years but God called him to full time evangelistic ministry.
It is estimated that “Billy” preached to more than 100 million people face to face without many things we take for granted today like sound systems and radio for most of his career. Thousands “hit the sawdust trail” at over 300 campaigns to shake his hand and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior in the wooden tabernacles built for the events. Here are some quotes from the Baseball Evangelist:
“Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.”
“The reason you don’t like the Bible, you old sinner, is because it knows all about you.”
“Nineteen hundred years ago a star poised above a lowly manger in Bethlehem and above the moonlit hills of Judea the angels heralded the beginning of the life of Jesus Christ upon this earth — He who came to teach us the religion of human
kindness, brotherly love and salvation through repentance and faith in His shed blood.”
Sunday and his wife, “Ma,” moved to Winona Lake in 1911. Billy died in 1935 and his wife, Helen, passed away in 1957.
We honor this man and wife who had an incredible impact on the United States and Christianity in the early 20th century.
To God be the Glory!
Greater Warsaw Ministerial Association
P.S. A special free 150th Anniversary baseball card can be obtained by sending SASE to: GWMA, P.O. Box 1797, Warsaw, IN 46581.