Sir Donald George Bradman, AC (27 August 1908 – 25 February 2001)
Born in Cootamundra, NSW, Don Bradman is widely acknowledged as cricket’s greatest batsman. His Test Match batting average of 99.94 has been viewed as one of the greatest achievements in all sports.
Over a 52 Test Match career, his batting average exceeded 100.0 or more on thirteen occasions. He first achieved this landmark after his eighth Test Match - the Oval Test of 1930 Ashes series (103.00). From that point in his career, his Test match average never fell below 89.55 and it peaked at 112.29 in January 1932. During the 1938 tour of England for his 26 innings for the tour, Bradman’s average never fell below 100.
Coming into his last Test Match in the 1948 Ashes tour, Bradman’s batting average stood at 101.39. Needing only four runs in his last innings to achieve a Test Match career average of 100.0, he was bowled second ball by Eric Hollies for 0.
Many of Don Bradman’s batting records remain unbroken and are unlikely to be surpassed. In Test Match cricket for example, on average, he scored a century every three innings. In addition, Bradman scored twice as many Test centuries than half-centuries; 29 to 13 (223%). By comparison, the ratio for some of the post-war greats are Younis Khan (103%), MP Vaughan (100%), RN Harvey (88%), Sir GA Sobers (87%), JH Kallis (78%), Sachin Tendulkar (75%), GS Chappell (74%), KC Sangakara (73%), and Sir Vivian Richards (53%). Of his 117 first-class centuries, 37 were double-centuries (31.6%) – an unparalleled achievement.
In all cricket, Don Bradman played 669 innings, scoring 50,731 runs, 211 centuries, at an average of 90.26. He captained Australia 49 times in England (first-class and Test Matches), losing only once – the Oval Match of 1938. As captain of Australia, he never lost a Test Match series.
While Sir Donald Bradman is widely regarded as the greatest batsman to have played the game, he is also one of the twentieth century’s most influential figures. In 1939 for example, in the International Who’s Who there were twenty one lines devoted to him, which was only eight fewer than Adolf Hitler and seventeen more than Josef Stalin. Additionally, he is also one of only two Australians nominated by The International Who’s Who to be among the top one hundred people who have done the most to shape the twentieth century.
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What people said about Don Bradman
"Isn't that Don Bradman over there? I would like to be introduced." – Sir Winston Churchill
"Some teams are so anxious to see Bradman bat that they willingly send Australia in to bat just to watch him." - Daily Pictorial
"I well remember, when he reached 250, the people around me expressing their amazement, and dismay, very volubly, when what must have been a Cockney retorted: 'Blimey, what are you worrying about? It's only a quarter of a thousand!' " - H.F. Mathews
"Everybody talks about Bradman. People who don't know one thing from the next in cricket all talk about him." - Jack Ingham
"Street urchins clambered onto the running board of Bradman's car just to catch a glimpse of him, and to greet him with their shrill tribute." - London newspaper
"Tell me, Mr Fraser, is Sir Donald Bradman still alive?" Nelson Mandella at a meeting with former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser at Pollsmoor Prison in 1986
“One day at Fenner's (the university cricket ground at Cambridge), just before the last war, G. H. Hardy and I were talking about Einstein. Hardy had met him several times, and I had recently returned from visiting him. Hardy was saying that in his lifetime there had only been two men in the world, in all the fields of human achievement, science, literature, politics, anything you like, who qualified for the Bradman class. For those not familiar with cricket, or with Hardy's personal idiom, I ought to mention that “the Bradman class” denoted the highest kind of excellence: it would include Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Newton, Archimedes, and maybe a dozen others. Well, said Hardy, there had only been two additions in his lifetime. One was Lenin and the other Einstein.” ― C.P. Snow, Variety of Men
"On the day after their arrival I heard the piano being played very beautifully for nearly an hour. When I went into the Gothic Hall there was Don Bradman playing, it seemed to me nearly as well as he batted. I complimented him on his skill and he replied: "I enjoy playing the piano better than anything in the world, and now thank goodness shall have plenty of time for it for I have been forbidden to play cricket." Men, Women and Things, The Duke of Portland
"He made fools of the English bowlers but the English crowds, with national masochism,did not care; they adored him all the more." Anthony Davis
“Don Bradman will bat no more against England, and two contrary feelings dispute within us: relief, that our bowlers will no longer be oppressed by this phenomenon; regret, that a miracle has been removed from among us. So must ancient Italy have felt when she heard of the death of Hannibal.” RC Robertson Glasgow
"On and on he seemed to go, batting into cricket eternity ... He was the genius absolute..." JH Fingleton.