Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/471

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CHAPTER XXXI.

BASE BALL AND RELIGION—BILLY SUNDAY AS PLAYER AND PREACHER—ANECDOTES OF THE INTEREST CHURCH PEOPLE TAKE IN THE NATIONAL SPORT—THE RELIGIOUS EDITOR'S REPORT OF A GAME.

IT CANNOT be claimed for Base Ball that it is essentially religious, either as to its features or its objects. During the history of the evolution and development of the pastime, magnates, managers, even players, have been known who were not conspicuous examples of personal piety. So far as the sport has developed any religious side whatever, it can be said of it that, thus far it has avoided sectarian bias or control—though it must be confessed that it escaped that once by only "the skin of its teeth."

While all this is true, it will not be denied that about every religious cult known has had representatives among its votaries. Perhaps the term "Pan-denominational" might properly be employed to describe its constituent elements. Moreover, that word seems to be useful as suggesting the Pandemonium which has sometimes characterized its councils and its exploitation. During my long connection with Base Ball I have known among its managers and players Agnostics, Baptists, Catholics, Dunkards. Episcopalians, Fanatics, Mormons, Gentiles, Israelites, Hebrews, Jews—but why go through the entire alphabet to show that the game has within its ranks

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