> 1895-1916 Illinois State Association History

Billy Sunday

Billy Sunday

"Chicago, Chicago that toddlin town, Chicago, Chicago, I'll show you around. Bet your bottom dollar you'll lose the blues in Chicago, Chicago, the town that Billy Sunday could not shut down."

Billy Sunday was America's top Christian evangelist of the early Twentieth Century who preached to tens of millions of people. But before all that, from 1883 to 1888, Billy played professional baseball as an outfielder for The Chicago White Stockings of the National League. As many Chicago baseball fans know, The White Stockings were later called the Chicago Cubs, and not the Chicago White Sox, a team franchise that was created in the brand new American League in 1901 by Charles Comiskey. Comiskey owed the Sioux City Cornhuskers of the Western League, a minor league, and brought that team to Chicago to become the White Sox in 1901. Billy Sunday converted to Christianity one night at the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago when he gave up "demon rum." He was famous for his fire and brimstone sermons attacking the devil.

Later in the century, another famous evengelist, Billy Graham, met his wife Ruth Bell when both were students at Wheaton College in 1943. Billy Graham was briefly a pastor for the Village Baptist Church in Western Springs, Illinois before he launched his Campus Crusade for Christ in about 1948.

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