William Ashley Sunday was born in Ames, Iowa, grandson of German immigrants. He
wa a professional baseball player for eight years.
After hearing hymns sung by the Pacific Garden Mission, Sunday became a
born-again Christian in 1886. He retired from baseball in 1891 to work as an
assistant to an evangelist, and became a preacher himself in 1896.
Sunday's sensationalistic "fire and brimstone" preaching was
incredibly popular. He traveled from town to town, holding revival meetings in
temporary wooden tabernacles, condemning liquor, birth control, and other sins
of the modern age, supporting prohibition. As times changed, Billy Sunday was increasingly seen as
his popularity waned. He died of a heart attack in Chicago in 1935.