Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/472

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Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Quakers and all the rest? Everybody knows that.

However, it is of interest to know that churchmen, of high and low estate, have been as fanatical in their love for Base Ball as they have been zealous in their religious predilections. Billy Sunday, who seems to be about the most successful evangelist in the Presbyterian Church, was converted while playing ball professionally, and it is said that his contracts from that time on eliminated Sunday ball for Sunday.

The following special telegram, from the Hoosier capital, tells of Billy's work in the early days of his evangelistic career:

"Indianapolis July 12, 1904.—'Billy' Sunday, who was known in Base Ball circles years ago as the renowned outfielder of the Chicago Club, is doing missionary work in the Indiana gas belt towns and is talking to crowds of laboring people every night. He has become as widely known as an evangelist as he once was as a Base Ball player, and though it is many years since he was associated with Anson, Pfeffer, Kelly, Burns and others who made up the Chicago aggregation, he often refers to his old chums and the kind words they gave him when he determined to reform.

"He is telling the story of his conversion and the happiness the new life has brought him to Indiana audiences every night and, incidentally, he has woven into his addresses the story of how prayer, as he verily believes, saved a game of Base Ball. As he tells the story, the fight for the pennant was between New York, Chicago and Detroit that year, but it finally narrowed down to the two last-named cities, and the final bout with Detroit came. The score was close. Everybody was excited and the players were nerved to the highest pitch by the great responsibility that rested upon them.

"'The last half of the ninth inning was being played,' says the ex-ball player. 'Two men were out and Detroit, with Charley Bennett at bat, had one man on second and another on third. He had two strikes on him and three balls called, when he fell on a ball with terrific force. It started for the clubhouse. Benches had been placed in the field for spectators and as I saw the ball sailing through my section of the air I realized that it was going over the crowd, and I called, "Get out of the way." The crowd opened and