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200 North Main St | Bloomington, Illinois | 309-827-0428

Zoom Billy Sunday: The Baseball Evangelist

Tuesday, February 16
Starts at 6:30 PM

McLean County Museum of History
200 N. Main St, Bloomington IL 61701

Zoom Billy Sunday: The Baseball Evangelist

The Museum is pleased to present a virtual program with Craig Bishop who will present a webinar on his self-published book, Billy Sunday: The Baseball Evangelist, and share details about Sunday’s early life in Iowa, his athletic career, and his rise to fame as the most well-known evangelist in the United States in the early Twentieth century. This free, public program will be presented via Zoom on Tuesday, February 16 at 6:30 p.m. Central Standard Time.

William Ashley Sunday was an American athlete who, after being a popular outfielder in baseball’s National League in the 1880s and early 1890s, he became the most celebrated and influential American evangelist during the first two decades of the Twentieth century.

Sunday was born into poverty near Ames, Iowa. His mother sent him and his older brother to the Soldier’s Orphans Home in Glenwood, Iowa, and then later to the Soldier’s Orphans’ Home in Davenport, Iowa. It was while living at these Homes that Sunday learned healthy habits and honed his physical skills that helped him become a good athlete. His speed and agility provided him the opportunity to play baseball in the major leagues for eight years (four of those with the Chicago White Stockings), where he was known as being an average hitter, and a good fielder known for his base running.

Sunday converted to evangelical Christianity in the late 1880s and left baseball for the Christian ministry in 1891. He gradually developed his skills at the pulpit in the Midwest and soon expanded throughout the entire nation. He was a driving force behind the campaign to ban alcohol, which culminated in the passage of the 18th Amendment, which established Prohibition. For the first 20 years of the Twentieth century, he “preached to millions, hobnobbed with U.S. presidents and titans of industry, and waged a tireless campaign against alcohol,” including a stop in Bloomington from December 27, 1907 through February 2, 1908.

Craig Bishop attended received a BA in history from Kansas State University and an MA in Society and Eastern European Studies from the University of Kansas. He has been involved in the Pilot Outreach jail ministry for the last 27 years and has served churches in various ways depending on their needs. Bishop began to study the life of Billy Sunday in 1998, and after many years of research, completed his book in 2016.

To purchase a copy of the book, please visit https://billysundayevangelist.com/wp/2020/09/15/on-sale-now/. Copies are $19 each plus tax and shipping.

This program is free and open to the public. To register for this Zoom webinar, please click this link https://bit.ly/2XCt0SG. Questions? Please contact the Education Department at education@mchistory.org.