Archiver > ENGLISH-OBITS > 2006-07 > 1152361140

From: "Peter_McCrae" <>
Subject: Fw:Re: TRUEMAN: Frederick Sewards Truman--d.1/7/2006>UK
Date: Sat, 8 Jul 2006 13:19:00 +0100

The Scotsman online 4/7/2006

Fred Trueman

FRED TRUEMAN, OBE England cricketer

Born: 6 February, 1931 in Stainton, South Yorkshire.

Died: 1 July, 2006 in Keighley, West Yorkshire, aged 75.

FRED Trueman will be remembered as the first cricketer to take 300 Test
wickets and as one of the fastest, most hostile and gifted bowlers England
has produced. For every one of those 300 batsmen dismissed there is a tale
or anecdote that sums up the wit and charisma of one of the game's great

Trueman was nicknamed Fiery Fred because, at his pomp, he roared in to bowl
and unsettled, outwitted and sometimes terrified the world's best batsmen.
Equally, it was a fitting sobriquet because the Yorkshireman was so easy to
inflame. His spats with the Lord's establishment and the administrators of
his own beloved county were legendary.

Many of England's finest cricketers have been sons of privilege. Trueman was
the offspring of Alan, a horsedealer's son who was left with no option but
to enter the pit in the early 1930s as his family grew. Frederick Sewards
was the fourth of seven children, and left school at 14, embarking on a
series of menial jobs while hurling cricket balls with unchecked aggression
in his spare time.

The tyro was so raw that it wasn't until 1951, three years since Yorkshire
had begun to fund his development, that he earned consistent selection at
Headingley. Trueman claimed 90 first-class wickets that summer and was
awarded a county cap - from then on, there was to be no stopping him.

In 1952 the 21-year-old was called up for England and unleashed on India.
Few players have taken to international cricket with such a nerveless shrug.
Trueman had three Test wickets before he had conceded a single run, and the
Indians had been reduced to nought for four. Post-war England had a new

Several resolute, no-nonsense northerners have left a lasting imprint on the
English game but few as distinctive as Trueman's. Proud of his colliery
background and utterly immune to old establishment rule, he contributed to
cricket's gradual shift from the sole preserve of aristocrats to the
all-inclusive pursuit enjoyed across the social spectrum today.

He didn't suffer gladly patrician traditionalists who came out to bat in
striped caps and cravats, expecting him to play the game their way and
honour their customs. A Cambridge University batsman, having just been
dismissed, acknowledged his captor with the compliment: "That was a very
good ball, Mr Trueman." The bowler replied: "Aye, wasted on thee."

Countless other anecdotes illustrate Trueman's sharp humour, which was
usually delivered at the expense of some preening buffoon. A library of such
stories surely identifies him as one of the pioneers of "sledging", the
unsporting practice favoured mostly by Australians who try to get under an
opponent's skin via verbal warfare. Like them, Trueman only knew one way to
play cricket: his way.

It served him well, after a time. Trueman's Test career was interrupted
variously by national service, reports of crude language and overly
aggressive play, and fall-outs with tour managers such as the Duke of
Norfolk, but nearing the end of the 1950s he established himself as
England's premier bowler, forging an exceptional new-ball partnership with
Brian Statham.

For five years the pair cut a swathe through international cricket, Statham
accurate and persistent, Trueman rhythmic and dynamic, profiting from a
profound ability to make the ball swing away from the right-hander and cut
back in after hitting the seam.

Even at the age of 32, in 1963, he continued to reign supreme despite the
arrival of West Indian pretenders to his fast-bowling throne. He took 34
wickets in that home series, which would prove his last as a fixture of the
side. A year later he was dropped three wickets short of 300, and only when
recalled for the Ashes decider at The Oval did he realise the great
landmark, when Colin Cowdrey took a slips catch to remove Australia's Neil

England's woes for most of the past two decades meant there has been no
queue of aspirants waiting to relieve Trueman of his place in history. Only
Ian Botham, with 383 wickets, and Bob Willis (325) have so far overtaken

Richie Benaud has noted that had Trueman been born 20 or 30 years later, he
would have taken 500, rather than 307, Test wickets. But we cannot imagine
how he would have handled the glare and scrutiny that today marries itself
to celebrity. Fred would have been ready prey for the London tabloids with
his fondness for a pint, his romantic adventures and his confrontational

Against Australia on his home ground in 1961, Trueman finished off the
visitors' second innings with six wickets for one run. But due to the
deterioration of his first marriage, to Enid Chapman, he had slept the
previous night in a Leeds car park. In the modern world, a high-profile
sportsman would do well to get into such a mess without being photographed.

Indeed, after he retired in 1968 - his last of 67 Tests had come in 1965,
against New Zealand - Trueman's work as a radio summariser on Radio 4
revealed his shortage of admiration for contemporary ways. As a fast bowler
in possession of 2,304 first-class wickets and who had bowled 1,000 overs
four summers in a row, he did not pull any punches and mocked the players'
constant petitions for rest.

The fusion of his love for cricket with his recognition of its faults, and
those of the people who play it, served Trueman well as an after-dinner
speaker. He last visited Scotland in March 2002, on one such duty, and in an
interview with The Scotsman took aim at such targets as Yorkshire, Darren
Gough and England coach Duncan Fletcher.

Trueman died in a Yorkshire hospital last Saturday after a battle with lung
cancer. He is survived by his second wife, Veronica, and three children from
his first marriage - Rebecca, Rodney and Karen. A book of condolence will be
set up at Headingley this week, and Yorkshire County Cricket Club is
planning a memorial service.

> Fred Trueman
> (Filed: 03/07/2006)
> The Telegraph.co.uk
> Fred Trueman, the Yorkshire and England cricketer who died on Saturday
> aged 75, was one of the greatest fast bowlers, all the more renowned for
> his ripe and stormy personality.
> Above all, he never failed in immodesty. But then who could argue with his
> record? Not only was he the first player to take 300 wickets in Tests; in
> a first-class career lasting from 1949 to 1969, an extraordinarily long
> span for a fast bowler, he claimed 2,304 wickets at only 18.29 apiece.
> Among genuinely fast bowlers, only Brian Statham (2,260 wickets at 16.37)
> has approached this total. Clearly Trueman's strength and stamina were as
> exceptional as his speed and his skill.
> The young tearaway of the early 1950s matured into the master craftsman,
> still a fearsome proposition for batsmen, yet now as vain of his guile as
> of his pace.
> This batsman, Trueman would explain, had been bowled by an inswinging
> yorker; that one deceived by a slower ball; another caught at slip off a
> late outswinger. "Did you ever bowl a plain straight ball?" a sceptical
> team-mate once enquired.
> "Aye, I did - and it went straight through like a stream of piss and
> flattened all three." The outswinger, in particular, really was a
> formidable weapon. But there was never anything subtle about Trueman's
> temperament; he always remained a fast bowler pure and simple in his
> hostility towards batsmen. Many an old foe smiled wryly when, in
> retirement, he said that he had hardly ever deliberately tried to hit
> batsmen.
> His bowling action was instinct with beauty, violence and menace. At five
> feet 10 inches, 46 inches around chest and hips, and weighing over 13
> stone, he could seem heavy and muscle-bound as, muttering dark
> imprecations, he made his way back to his mark. With his run-in, however,
> the sense of constriction dropped away.
> John Arlott wrote that he approached the wicket "with the majestic rhythm
> that emerges as a surprise in the Spanish fighting bull". Beginning at a
> steady pad, he gradually accelerated, hair flopping, until he completed
> his charge in an explosion of malevolent power. Trueman rounded off this
> spectacle with histrionic gestures of despair, rage or triumph.
> No cricketer ever possessed a more compelling sense of theatre. Nor was it
> just as a bowler that Trueman drew all eyes. In the outfield he could hurl
> the ball back fast, flat and true with either arm; at short leg he would
> snap up chances with lightning reactions.
> As a batsman he combined a fine eye with agricultural methods which
> frequently succeeded in depositing the ball far over the mid-wicket
> boundary. He scored three first-class centuries and 26 fifties.
> No wonder that crowds loved Trueman, and lapped up stories about him. Some
> were even true. On the tour of Australia in 1962-63, the Reverend David
> Sheppard dropped several catches. "Kid yourself it's Sunday, Rev," Trueman
> expostulated, "and keep your hands together." In particular, anything
> suggestive of a Harlequin cap was anathema to him. Having watched with
> ill-concealed disgust as one such exquisite made his way to the middle at
> Lord's, complete with matching cravat, he immediately shattered his
> stumps. "'Ardly worth gettin' dressed up for, were it?" Trueman observed
> as the victim passed him on the way back to the pavilion.
> With a bat in hand, Trueman could even laugh at himself. When Peter
> Sainsbury, the Hampshire slow bowler, tried to lure him to his destruction
> by giving the ball more and more air, Trueman complained to the
> wicket-keeper: "I'm all right when his arm comes over, but I'm out of form
> by the time the bloody ball gets here." Yet Trueman could be crude,
> full-mouthed and boorish as well as witty. It was hard to separate
> fire-breathing malice and barrack-room jokiness in his conversation.
> Generosity and resentment, friendliness and pomposity, touchiness and
> exhibitionism, all crowded together in his character.
> At the root of these contradictions lay raw honesty, absolute courage, and
> a determination to be his own man.
> Fiercely competitive in all aspects of life, Trueman never buckled under
> to those whom he mistrusted, not to Brian Sellars, the autocratic chairman
> of Yorkshire, nor to Freddie Brown, the manager of MCC's tour of Australia
> in 1958-59. Indeed, notwithstanding Trueman's respect for the hereditary
> peerage - for the rebel Yorkshireman was also a Tory of deepest dye - even
> the Duke of Norfolk discovered during the tour of Australia in 1962-63
> that he was powerless to control him.
> This strength of character was integral to Trueman's feats upon the field.
> Without his sense of being set apart, he might have dwindled into just
> another fast bowler with a weakness for sending down too many short
> deliveries. His bragging originated as much in the need to keep up his
> faith in himself as to impress or amuse his audience.
> After all, for three years at the beginning of his career, Trueman had to
> struggle to gain a place in the county side. The Yorkshire dressing-room
> in the 1940s and 1950s was no place for the faint-hearted; had Trueman not
> sung his own praises, it is certain that no one else would have bothered
> to.
> Even after he had made his name in 1952, the presence of Brian Statham and
> Frank Tyson meant that over the next five years he was never an automatic
> selection for England. One of the more surprising statistics about Trueman
> is that he appeared in only 67 out of the 118 Tests played by England
> during the period of his international career.
> Frederick Sewards Trueman was born on February 6 1931 at Seven Springs, a
> row of terraced houses (now lost under colliery waste) near Stainton, some
> seven miles east of Rotherham in south Yorkshire. The first notable
> statistic he registered was his weight at birth, 14 lbs 1 oz.
> Fred was the fourth of seven children. His paternal grandfather had been a
> horsedealer, and it was with great reluctance that his father began to
> work as a miner in the early 1930s. Alan Trueman taught all his sons to
> play cricket, and when the family moved to Maltby in 1943, Fred found
> plenty of encouragement at the local school for his fast-bowling
> ambitions. But at 12 he was hit so grievously in the groin when batting
> that he missed two seasons.
> At 14 and a half he left school and took a variety of jobs: newspaper boy,
> bricklayer, factory hand in both a Sheffield wire works and a Rotherham
> glass works. He never, though, abandoned his cricketing ambitions, and by
> 17 had shown sufficient talent to play for Sheffield United. He obtained a
> job in the tally office at Maltby Main colliery in order to disqualify
> himself for National Service. Contrary to the legend, however, he never
> worked underground.
> Trueman's reputation reached Yorkshire's committee, who paid for him to be
> coached at Leeds during the winter. Though still wild, and over-enamoured
> of the bouncer, he showed sufficient promise to be invited in May 1949 to
> play for Yorkshire against Cambridge University.
> In Wisden's report he appears as "Trueman, a spin bowler". In fact, trying
> to bowl too fast, he lost both rhythm and control. He did better against
> Oxford in the Parks; and on his debut at Lord's in June 1949 took eight
> for 70 in the Minor Counties second innings. But there was no permanent
> place in the Yorkshire championship side.
> In May 1950 Trueman was unexpectedly selected to play for The Rest against
> England in the Test Trial at Bradford. Jim Laker returned an analysis of
> eight wickets for two runs; Trueman had the satisfaction of bowling Len
> Hutton. Yet he was selected for only 12 championship matches that year,
> with unremarkable results.
> He did much better in 1951, taking 90 first-class wickets and winning his
> county cap.
> A new Yorkshire ruling that capped players should be paid £5 a week during
> National Service caused Trueman to change his mind about conscription. He
> left his job at Maltby Main, and in the autumn of 1951 was called up by
> the RAF. After initial training he was put in charge of sports equipment
> at Hemswell in Lincolnshire.
> His commanding officer proved generous in giving him time off to play for
> Yorkshire at the beginning of 1952, and it was immediately evident that he
> had grown more formidable; had indeed become one of the world's fastest
> bowlers. With 32 wickets from four county championship games, he was
> picked to play for England in the first Test against India at Headingley.
> It proved a sensational debut: after 14 balls of India's second innings
> the score stood at four wickets (three to Trueman) for no runs. Several
> Indian batsmen made no effort to conceal their apprehension. When Trueman
> went on to take 29 wickets in that summer's four Tests, excitement grew to
> fever pitch, all the more so because the Australians were due next year.
> Yet with the RAF granting him only spasmodic leave in 1953, Trueman was
> unable to find his form, and was not chosen for England until the decisive
> final Test, when he took four wickets in Australia's first innings.
> England won the Ashes for the first time since 1932-33, and Trueman
> departed with MCC for the West Indies with high expectations.
> But the tour turned out to be the worst disaster of his career. It was bad
> enough that he rarely bowled at his best in the Tests; worse, that his
> crude language and unruly behaviour sharply antagonised West Indian
> players and crowds.
> No doubt Len Hutton, the captain, and Charles Palmer, the manager, should
> have exerted firmer discipline on him. Trueman, though, forfeited all
> claim to sympathy. He hit a popular tailender in the face with a bumper,
> and while the other fielders went to the stricken man's assistance,
> returned bristling to his mark before following up next ball with a
> lightning full toss.
> Trueman did not play for England again until 1955, and only became a
> regular in the Test side after the third Test against the West Indies in
> 1957, when he bowled 65 overs and took nine for 143 on an easy pitch at
> Trent Bridge. For five years thereafter, until the end of the Australian
> tour of 1962-63, he and Statham spearheaded the England attack,
> complementing each other perfectly. Statham was the more accurate and
> probing; Trueman the faster, and on his day the more dangerous.
> He never bowled more consistently well than in the West Indies in 1959-60.
> His 21 Test wickets were more than any English fast bowler had previously
> taken in the West Indies. Against Australia at Headingley in 1961, he cut
> down his pace to bowl cutters on a dusty pitch, and finished off
> Australia's second innings with a spell of six wickets for one run. The
> feat was the more remarkable in that, with his marriage breaking down, he
> had slept the previous night in his car in a Leeds car park. His match
> figures were 11 for 88.
> Trueman's work rate for Yorkshire was tremendous between 1959 and 1962. In
> each of those four English seasons he bowled more than a thousand overs,
> taking respectively 140, 175, 155 and 153 wickets. Save in 1961 (pipped by
> Hampshire), Yorkshire won the championship all those years.
> In Australia in 1962-63, Trueman contributed eight wickets to England's
> victory in the second Test at Melbourne. After the tour, however, The
> People, to which Trueman contributed a column, revealed that he had been
> docked £50 of his £150 good conduct bonus, as a result of a report by the
> manager, the Duke of Norfolk. For a while Trueman blustered that he would
> never play for England again.
> Predictably, he relented, and in the summer of 1963, fired by his rivalry
> of the West Indian fast bowlers Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith, took 34
> Test wickets. Now aged 32, he skilfully varied his pace, while still
> occasionally producing a delivery of lightning speed. In the thrilling
> Test at Lord's - drawn, though at the start of the last over either side
> might have won - he bowled 70 overs and took 11 wickets. That season he
> finished top of the Test, English first-class, and Yorkshire bowling
> averages, as his county once more carried off the championship.
> In 1964, however, there were at last signs that Trueman's powers might be
> on the wane. In the third Test at Headingley, England had Australia on the
> defensive at seven for 178, but Trueman, called back to finish off the
> tail, bowled a series of medium-paced long-hops which were dispatched with
> relish by Peter Burge. Australia reached 389, and England lost. Dropped
> from the next Test, Trueman was still three wickets short of 300 Test
> victims when was recalled for the final game at the Oval.
> At first he made no impression, bowling 26 overs for 80 runs and no
> wickets; then snapped up two victims in two balls. His 300th Test wicket
> came shortly afterwards, when Neil Hawke was caught by Cowdrey at slip.
> For good measure Trueman then removed the Australian Number 11. He had
> taken the last four wickets for seven runs.
> Next year, 1965, against New Zealand, he was ineffective, and the second
> Test, his 67th, proved to be his last. In all he had claimed 307 Test
> victims at 21.57 apiece, with the impressive strike rate of one wicket
> every 49.43 balls. As a Test batsman he had scored 981 runs at an average
> of 13.81.
> Trueman was far from finished in first-class cricket: he took 111 wickets
> in 1966, 75 in 1967 and 66 in 1968, all at moderate cost, as Yorkshire
> notched up three more championship titles.
> There was a final triumph when he captained Yorkshire to victory against
> the Australians in 1968. He then retired, though he played one more
> first-class match in 1969, for the International Cavaliers. With his 2,304
> wickets, he had scored 9,231 runs at an average of 15.56, and taken 438
> catches. Of his four hat-tricks, three were against Nottinghamshire.
> Unlike many retired professional cricketers, Trueman continued to play as
> often as possible. He represented Derbyshire in the John Player Sunday
> League in 1972; frequently turned out for MCC against various public
> schools; became a stalwart member of The Saints Cricket Club; and in 1981
> was pre-eminent in forming the Old England XI.
> Soon after retiring from Yorkshire, Trueman set up as a purveyor of blue
> humour in northern clubs, and became involved in a number of unsuccessful
> business ventures. His second wife Veronica helped to put him on a more
> even keel, and he turned into an indefatigable public speaker, both for a
> fee at dinners, and for nothing on behalf of charities, in particular
> those helping disabled young people. He proved a formidable money-raiser,
> not least through the annual Fred Trueman Golf Classic at Harrogate. When
> Brian Statham fell on hard times, Trueman laboured hard and long to make
> his last years more comfortable.
> In the 1970s he also became a regular contributor to various Yorkshire
> Television programmes. He also made guest apperances on Emmerdale Farm,
> Dad's Army, That's Life, Blankety Blank, and Nationwide.
> By far the most successful of his jobs was his place, from 1974, as a
> regular member of the Test Match Special commentary team. The former rebel
> now showed himself shocked by the undisciplined ways of the younger
> generation, and by the technical incompetence of the play he beheld. Many
> felt he was at his best when rain stopped play.
> The events of 1984, when Trueman was voted out of the Yorkshire committee
> by the supporters of Geoffrey Boycott, whom he loathed, left Trueman
> lastingly embittered. He was never the type to forget and forgive. His
> books included a ghosted autobiography, Ball of Fire (1976), From Larwood
> to Lillee (1983), Fred Trueman's Yorkshire (with Don Mosey, 1984), The
> Spinners' Web (with Trevor Bailey, 1988) and Fred Trueman's Cricket
> Masterpieces (1990).
> He was appointed OBE in 1989.
> Fred Trueman married first, in 1955 (dissolved 1972), Enid Chapman,
> daughter of a Mayor of Scarborough; they had a son and two daughters.
> He married secondly, in 1973, Veronica Wilson.

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