"There is a place for BEER, WINE and SPIRITS, and that place is HELL!"
The sage words of Reverend William A. "Billy" Sunday, former BASEBALL player for the Chicago White Stockings turned PREACHER.
Billy Sunday was born in Ames, Iowa 11/17/1862. The original last name of the German immigrant family was SONNTAG.
He played baseball at a time when baseball players were considered to be shiftless Con Men and ne'er-do-wells.
He was a TERRIFIC player because he was a natural athlete possessed of INCREDIBLE speed and lightning-fast reflexes. And, like all baseball players of the time, he DRANK, Swore, TRAVELED and Fornicated like the rest of them.
Until he met Nell Thompson. She was a PRESBYTERIAN whose Father had a dim view of young Billy. So Sunday became a Presbyterian and began to attend church regularly....And became the right Reverend Billy Sunday.
His CRUSADES against the EVILS of Drinking were directly responsible for the VOLSTEAD ACT of 1919/1920: PROHIBITION...
Prohibition has ALWAYS been blamed on WOMEN VOTERS, but BILLY SUNDAY had more of an active hand in it than any other single person....
He was the most popular man in the country until the advent of MOTION PICTURES and RADIO.
In the tune "CHICAGO", there is a line that says:
"CHICAGO, the town that BILLY SUNDAY could not shut down"....!
Frank Sinatra sang that line with particular RELISH...
Billy Sunday was Friend to Presidents, Industrial Leaders, World Leaders, etc. And he lived a life UNTOUCHED by SCANDAL...At least, he did until his SONS grew up....
He died 11/06/35....
Burt Lancaster is doing his BILLY SUNDAY impression in "ELMER GANTRY", a TERRIFIC movie that also stars JEAN SIMMONS-no, not the guy from KISS!