• Cricket’s First Superstar

    By Free Online News

    PUBLISHED: July 18, 2013 2:16 pm

    Long before the Bradmans and Tendulkars was William Gilbert Grace, or W.G. (July 18, 1848 – October 23, 1915), the prolific cricketer, England’s first Test centurion, first to 50,000 runs, 2000 wickets and 100 centuries in First Class cricket and once the oldest man to play Test cricket at age 50. [CYCSPL]

    Says Yahoo


    William Gilbert Grace, or W.G. as he is best known as, was easily the most iconic cricketer in the world at the turn of the 19th century. (1888 photo by by Herbert Barraud/Rischgitz/Getty Images)


    Born July 18, 1848, in Downend, Bristol, England, Grace played 22 Tests and 878 First Class games between 1869 and 1908.

    The Gloucestershire, London County and England cricketing legend leans on the shoulder of J R Mason at the 1901 Hastings Cricket Festival. On the left sits Lord Hawke. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


    Grace’s exploits on the cricket field were greatly instrumental in popularising the sport, helping it move from the amateur age to the professional one. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


    Grace scored over 54,000 First Class runs, and took over 2800 wickets in those 878 games. Only four men have scored more runs and nine more have taken more wickets than him. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


    Grace was the game’s first superstar and commanded a hefty price for his appearances. According to Wisden, he charged £1500 for a tour of Australia in 1873-74.

    Circa 1882: England (1880 – 1899) and Grace. On the far right is Allan Steel (1858 – 1914) and on the left of Grace, in blazer and pads, is Albert Neilson Hornby, aka Monkey Hornby (1847 – 1925). In the window is Australian captain W. L. Murdoch. Possibly the Gentlemen of England (amateurs) who are playing the Australians at the Oval on June 22nd, 23rd and 24th, 1882. (Photo by London Stereoscopic Company/Getty Images)


    Adjusting for inflation, his pay would be worth £140,000 today. In the amateur age, no cricketer earned more than Grace. May 1895: Grace on the roof of the Old Pavilion at Lord’s cricket ground. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


    About 6’2 and heftily built, Grace is the owner of cricket’s most famous beard. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


    Apart from being one of the greatest all-rounders of the game, Grace was a qualified doctor. He was also a renowned athlete. 9th June 1898: A Spy (Lesley Ward) cartoon fron Vanity Fair – pub. 1898 (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


    In 1866, he won the 440 yards hurdling title at the National Olympian Games. He also played for the Wanderers Football Club.

    Advertisement for ‘The People’ newspaper features an illustration of Grace at bat, accompanied by the text ‘Read The People, for all Saturday’s News,’ 1903. (Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)


    Grace scored the first ever Test century for England. On his Test debut against old foes Austarlia in 1880, he opened the batting and made 152.

    Grace circa 1890. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


    In 1882, he top-scored with 32 in the infamous defeat at the Oval in 1882. England lost by seven runs chasing 85, thus causing disgruntled fans to stage the mock funeral leading to the creation of the Ashes.

    Illustrated lithographic portrait shows famous English cricketers, 1880. Pictured are, from left, James Lillywhite (1842 – 1929), John Selby (1849 – 1894), Alfred Shaw (1842 – 1907), George Ulyett (1851 – 1898), George Harris, 4th Baron Harris (1851 – 1932), Walter Raleigh Gilbert (1853 – 1924), Henry Jupp (1841 – 1889), Albert Nelson Hornby (1847 – 1925), Grace, William Oscroft (1843 – 1905), Allan Gibson Steel (1858 – 1914), Richard Daft (1835 – 1900), Edward Pooley (better known as Ted Pooley, 1842 – 1907), Alexander Josiah Webbe (1855 – 1941), Tom Emmett (1842 – 1904), Willie Bates (better known as Billy Bates, 1855 – 1900), Ephraim Lockwood (1845 – 1921), Richard Pilling (1855 – 1891), and Fred Morley (1850 – 1884). (Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)


    Grace was a glutton for batting, as can be understood by this famous quote of his: “When I win the toss on a good pitch, I bat. When I win the toss on a doubtful pitch I think about it a bit more then I bat. When I win the toss on a very bad pitch, I think about it a bit longer then I bat.”

    Grace circa 1890. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


    There was another instance when he refused to leave after his dismissal. “Play on,” he told the umpire. “They’ve come to see me bat, not you umpire.” The statue of Grace at Lord’s on July 24, 2005 in London. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)


    When W.G. played his final Test match in 1899, he was a month short of 51.
    Circa 1900: Grace with C W Alcock, editor of ‘Cricket’. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)


    The last time he batted, aged 66, he made 69. Days later the first World War would break out.
    (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


    Grace passed away aged 67 in 1915. Britain mourned his death. There had never been a greater entertainer on the cricket field before the good doctor. Grace circa 1900. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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