By the 1880s professional baseball had become a popular sport among the working class throughout the country but many teams were struggling financially. While baseball was rising in popularity, Protestant churches were changing as well. Protestant leaders worked to continue their traditions, including reserving the Sabbath for church and relaxation. As immigration increased, new customs and traditions were brought to American cities and the idea of leisure on Sundays became more popular. The struggling ball clubs looked to capitalize on a changing society by playing games on Sunday. Protestant leaders fought against the idea of Sunday baseball as a way to protect the Sabbath that they were used to. In this paper, I utilize newspaper articles and editorials to look at the professional ball clubs in Cincinnati, Boston, and Philadelphia and how Protestant leaders tried to prevent Sunday baseball in these cities. On the surface, the issue of Sunday baseball seems rather simple but by looking at these three stories one can see that the issue is actually much deeper. The story of Sunday baseball highlights a changing American society and Protestant leaders who were desperate to keep their old traditions and norms alive.


Friedman, Joan




History | History of Religion | United States History


Baseball, Protestantism, Evangelical, Sunday Baseball;

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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