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Billy Sunday. Goodwin & Co. baseball card, c. 1887-1890. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LOT 13163-05, no. 83).

Article

Sunday, Billy (19 November 1862–06 November 1935), evangelist and professional baseball player, was born William Ashley Sunday, Jr., in a two-room cabin on a small farm in Story County, Iowa, the son of William Ashley Sunday, Sr., and Mary Jane Corey. His father, a Union army private, died a few weeks later. His mother farmed rented land, but she was so poor that by 1872 Billy and his twelve-year-old brother had to be sent to the Civil War Soldiers’ Orphans Home in Glenwood, Iowa. In 1874 the boys were relocated to the Davenport, Iowa, orphan home. There they received about two years of schooling. In 1876 both boys voluntarily left the orphanage and hired out as farmhands in Story County....