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American Minute from William J. Federer
A baseball star, Billy Sunday played for the Chicago White Stockings (Sox) in the 1880’s and later the Philadelphia Phillies.
Born during the Civil War in a log cabin in Iowa, his father, a Union Army soldier, died of pneumonia when Billy was a month old.
At age 15, he 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.
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 he had heard his mother sing, Sunday began attending services at the mission, where he experienced a conversion.
He began attending YMCA meetings, quit drinking and got married.
A national sensation occurred FEBRUARY 17, 1889, when Billy Sunday preached his first sermon as a Christian evangelist in Chicago.
He went on to pioneer preaching over broadcast radio so enthusiastically that the FCC was formed in response.
During the next 46 years, till his death November 6, 1935, over 100 million people would hear him.
In his animated style, Billy Sunday said:
“Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.”
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