Billy Sullivan

Date in History: 1875-1911

Professional baseball player Billy Sullivan was born in Oakland Township in 1875 just a few miles west of Fort Atkinson. He grew up on a farm, worked in a creamery and spent summers playing baseball for local amateur teams. In 1899 he broke into the big leagues as a catcher with the Boston Beaneaters and in 1901 he joined the newly created Chicago White Sox where he played for the next 14 years.

In 1906 Sullivan and the White Sox won the pennant despite hitting only .230, earning them the famous nickname, the “Hitless Wonders”. Even more surprising, they went on to defeat the mighty Chicago Cubs in the only all-Chicago World Series in history.

In 1911 Sullivan achieved lasting fame when he was challenged to catch a ball thrown from the top of the 555’ tall Washington Monument-a feat he managed to do three times in a row!

This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 04/14/2003.

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