|Birth||2 November 1877, Sydney, Australia|
|Death||28 June 1915, Darlinghurst, Australia (aged 37 years)|
Victor Thomas Trumper (2 November 1877 – 28 June 1915) was an Australian cricketer known as the most stylish and versatile batsman of the Golden Age of cricket, capable of playing match-winning innings on wet wickets his contemporaries found unplayable. Archie MacLaren said of him, "Compared to Victor I was a cab-horse to a Derby winner". Trumper was also a key figure in the foundation of rugby league in Australia. He was the first cricketer to score 7 and 8 centuries in Test match cricket.
Life and career
Trumper was probably born in Sydney; no definite record of his birth exists. Trumper's parents are believed to be Charles Thomas Trumper and his wife Louisa Alice "Louie", née Coghlan.
Trumper was educated at Crown Street Superior Public School and showed early ability as a batsman. When only 17 years old Trumper made 67 runs for a team of promising juniors against Andrew Stoddart's touring English team at Sydney Cricket Ground.
Early First Class Cricket
In 1894/95 he played for New South Wales against South Australia but made only 11 and 0 runs in his two innings. At his next attempt he also failed with the bat and was left out of representative cricket for two years.
He resumed first class cricket in 1897-98, making 192 runs at an average of 16.5 with a top score of 68.
Trumper's breakthrough season was in 1898-99, when he made 873 runs at 62.35 with a top score of 292 not out.
M. A. Noble, always a good judge, was confident about young Vic's ability, but it was only after some controversy that Trumper was made a last minute selection for the 1899 Australian team to England. He soon showed his ability, scoring 135 not out against England at Lord's Cricket Ground and 300 not out against Sussex. After the Lord's innings in June 1899, the great English batsman W. G. Grace approached the Australian dressing room and presented Trumper with his own bat, declaring, "From the present champion to the future champion." That bat now belongs to the Australian Museum collection in Canberra.
In Trumper's test debut, he scored 0 and 11. In the second test, his innings of 135 was crucial in helping set up an Australian victory.
In the third test, Trumper scored 12 and 32. In the 4th he made 14 and 63, the latter helping stave off an Australian defeat.
In the fifth test, Trumper scored 6 and 7.
Trumper made 1,556 runs that tour at 34.57.
Trumper maintained his good form over the 1899-1900 Australian season, scoring 721 first class runs at 72.1 with a top score of 208.
The following summer Trumper made 458 runs at 65.42 with a top score of 230.
In the 1901-02 Ashes, Trumper played all five tests. In the first he made 2 and 34, in a game Australia lost by an innings. In the second he scored 0 and 16. In the third he made 65 and 25. In the fourth he made 7 and 25. In the fifth he scored 27 and 18.
He made only 486 first class runs that summer at 27 with a top score of 73.
Trumper's most remarkable Test season was played in England in 1902. It was one of the wettest summers on record, yet Trumper in 53 innings scored 2,570 runs, and without a single not out had an average of 48.49. Harry Altham wrote: "From start to finish of the season, on every sort of wicket, against every sort of bowling, Trumper entranced the eye, inspired his side, demoralized his enemies, and made run-getting appear the easiest thing in the world."
C. B. Fry added, "He had no style, and yet he was all style. He had no fixed canonical method of play, he defied all orthodox rules, yet every stroke he played satisfied the ultimate criterion of style – the minimum of effort, the maximum of effect."
"No one," wrote Plum Warner, "ever played so naturally. Batting seemed just part of himself, and he was as modest as he was magnificent."
Trumper was modest, retiring and generous. A teetotaller and non-smoker, his general conduct was an example to his fellow players, and he was a great favourite with the public both in England and Australia. Monty Noble had no hesitation in calling him the world's greatest batsman, a genius without compare.
He scored 18 and 14 in the first test and did not bat in the second test. In the third test he made 1 and 62.
In the fourth test, in arguably his greatest innings, he became the first player to achieve the very rare feat of making a century on the first morning of a Test match, scoring 103 before lunch against England at Old Trafford. He only scored 4 in the second innings. In the final test, narrowly won by England, he scored 42 and 2.
He made 2,570 first class runs at 48.49 with 11 centuries and a top score of 128.
1902 vs South Africa
Australia stopped off in South Africa on the way home to play three tests against South Africa. Trumper made 63 and 37, 18 and 13 and 70 and 38 not out.
He scored 307 first class runs at 43.85.
That summer, Trumper played 5 first class games at home, scoring 446 runs at 49.55 with a top score of 178.
Trumper played all five tests during the 1903-04 Ashes. In the first test he scored 1 in the first innings but 185 in the second.
In the second he made 74 and 35, Australia's top score in both innings.
His good form continued in the third test where he made 113 and 59. In the fourth test he scored 7 and 12, and made 88 and 0 in the last game.
He made 990 first class runs that summer at 55, with a top score of 185.
In August 1904, Trumper, with Hanson Carter, opened a sports store in Market Street, Sydney.
The following summer Trumper only played two first class games in Australia making 198 runs at 49.5. He also played four first class games in New Zealand, making 436 runs at 109 with a top score of 172.
Trumper made 13 retired hurt, 31, 8 and 0, 11 and 30 and 4 and 28.
He made 1,597 first class runs on the tour in England, at 36.29, with two centuries.
At home, Trumper made 250 first class runs at 41.66 with one century.
The following summer he made 23 runs at 7.66 only playing two games.
Although he is best known for his prowess as a cricketer, Trumper was also a competent rugby player and can lay claim to being the prime mover in the development of rugby league in Australia. He hosted meetings at his store during 1907 as discontent amongst players with the game's administration grew louder. On 8 August 1907 at Bateman's Crystal Hotel, George Street, Sydney independent politician Henry Hoyle chaired a meeting of fifty, comprising several leading rugby players and officials. The New South Wales Rugby Football League, the body that would go on to conduct the major national rugby league premiership of Australia, was founded and Trumper was elected its first treasurer.
During the 1907-08 Ashes, Trumper made 43 and 3, 49 and 63, 4 and 0, 0 and 0 and 10 and 166.
He scored 797 first class runs that summer at 41.94.
Trumper's health during this period declined to the point where he missed the 1908/09 season due to illness.
At the beginning of the 1909 NSWRFL season the League, which was almost broke, had met and kicked out its founders, Trumper, Hoyle and J J Giltinan.
In the 1909 Ashes, Trumper scored 10 and 1 in the first test, 28 in the second, 27 and 2 in the third, 2 and 48 in the fourth and 73 and 20 for the fifth.
Trumper scored 1,424 first class runs on tour at 34.73 with a top score of 150.
Trumper ony played one first class game in the 1909-10 Australian summer, scoring 105.
1910-11 vs South Africa
In the first test Trumper made 27. In the second he made 34 and 159.
In the third test he scored 214 (then a record for an Australian test innings) and 28. In the 4th he made 7 and 87 and in the fifth he scored 31 and 74.
He made 1,246 first class runs that summer at 69.22.
1911-12 Ashes and "Big Six" Dispute
In the first test Trumper scored 113 and 14. His scores for the rest of the series were 13 and 2, 26 and 1, 17 and 28, and 5 and 50.
Trumper was part of the Big Six cricket dispute of 1912 which meant he boycott the 1912 tour to England.
In 1912 Trumper opened "Victor Trumper and Dodge Ltd.", a sports and mercery store in George Street, Sydney.
Some notable highlights of Trumper's career include scoring 292 against Tasmania, including a century before lunch (1908); scoring 100 in 58 minutes against Victoria (1906); 201 against South Australia (1913). His innings of 293 for an Australian XI against Canterbury (1914), scored in a little over three hours, was made in partnership with Arthur Sims (184 not out), and their stand of 433 still remains the record for the eighth wicket in first-class cricket, and Trumper's innings remains the highest score by a number nine batsman.
His last 68 first-class innings, from 1910 to 1914, gave him an average of 60. His ability as a batsman, however, cannot be valued by averages or the number of runs scored. His mastership was shown on bad wickets, for when other batsmen were struggling merely to keep their wickets intact, he was still able to time the ball and execute strokes all round the wicket.
In 1911-12 Trumper made 583 first class runs at 34.29.
In 1912-13 Trumper scored 843 runs at 84.3 including a top score of 201.
In February 1913 a match was played for his benefit between New South Wales and the rest of Australia which, with subscriptions, yielded nearly £3000.
1913-14 Season - Tour of New Zealand
In Trumper's last season in Australia he made 107 first class runs at 21.40 with a top score of 32. However he also toured New Zealand, making 628 runs at 69.77 with a top score of 293.
Trumper's health declined rapidly in 1914 and he died as a result of Bright's disease in Darlinghurst, Sydney, on 28 June 1915, aged 37. Trumper was buried in Waverley Cemetery after the largest funeral procession ever seen in Sydney (with 250,000 mourners lining the route) and was survived by his wife Sarah, his son Victor and daughter Nancy.
Trumper's son, Victor Trumper Jr (1913–1981), played seven first-class games for New South Wales in 1940–41; he was also the uncle of Admiral Sir Victor Smith (1913–1998), the first Australian to be promoted to the rank of admiral.
Victor Thomas' maternal ancestry was of the Coughlin family which also included NSW's first female statistician and Australia's Northern Territory's Chief Minister Clare Martin. The family was originally from County Offaly, Ireland until the Cromwell invasion then left County Cork in the 1850s just after the Potato Famine.
Trumper was named a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1903.
He was awarded Life Membership of the New South Wales Rugby League in 1914.
In the 1963 edition of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, Trumper was selected by Neville Cardus as one of the Six Giants of the Wisden Century. This was a special commemorative selection requested by Wisden for its 100th edition. The other five players chosen were Sydney Barnes, Don Bradman, W. G. Grace, Jack Hobbs and Tom Richardson.
In 1981 he was honoured on a postage stamp issued by Australia Post depicting a cartoon image by Tony Rafty.
In 1996 he was made one of the ten inaugural inductees into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame, the others being Fred Spofforth, John Blackham, Clarrie Grimmett, Bill Ponsford, Sir Donald Bradman, Bill O'Reilly, Keith Miller, Ray Lindwall, and Dennis Lillee.
The Sydney Cricket Ground Trust announced on 12 June 2008 that the new grandstand on the old hill at the SCG was to be named in Trumper's honour.
On 2 November 2008 the SCG Trust hosted the first 'Victor Trumper Day', a sporting and cultural retrospective organised by Sydney school teacher David Strange to honour the life of Trumper on the 131st anniversary of his birth. Former internationals and celebrities including Greg Matthews, Stuart MacGill, Greg Page, Mick Molloy and Tim Farriss wore slatted pads, sausage gloves and 1907 skull caps to recreate the Golden Age of cricket and raise money for charity in Trumper's name.
On 30 September 2009, Victor Trumper was one of five new members announced as part of the growing class of the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. On 4 January 2010, he was formally inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Trumper Park Oval in Paddington, New South Wales is named in his honour, as is the Trumper Pavilion at Chatswood Oval.