|Birth Day:||August 27, 1908|
|Death Date:||Feb 25, 2001 (age 92)|
As per our current Database, Donald Bradman died on Feb 25, 2001 (age 92).
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
He grew up playing cricket by himself, using a cricket stump to repeatedly hit a golf ball off a water tank. He scored his first century as a batsman at age 12.
Donald George Bradman was the youngest son of George and Emily (née Whatman) Bradman, and was born on 27 August 1908 at Cootamundra, New South Wales (NSW). He had a brother, Victor, and three sisters—Islet, Lilian and Elizabeth May. Bradman was of English heritage on both sides of his family. His grandfather Charles Andrew Bradman left Withersfield, Suffolk, for Australia. When Bradman played at Cambridge in 1930 as a 21 year old on his first tour of England, he took the opportunity to trace his forebears in the region. Also, one of his great-grandfathers was one of the first Italians to migrate to Australia in 1826. Bradman's parents lived in the hamlet of Yeo Yeo, near Stockinbingal. His mother, Emily, gave birth to him at the Cootamundra home of Granny Scholz, a midwife. That house is now the Bradman Birthplace Museum. Emily had hailed from Mittagong in the NSW Southern Highlands, and in 1911, when Don Bradman was about two-and-a-half years old, his parents decided to relocate to Bowral, close to Mittagong, to be closer to Emily's family and friends, as life at Yeo Yeo was proving difficult.
During the 1920–21 season, Bradman acted as scorer for the local Bowral team, captained by his uncle George Whatman. In October 1920, he filled in when the team was one man short, scoring 37* and 29* on debut. During the season, Bradman's father took him to the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) to watch the fifth Ashes Test match. On that day, Bradman formed an ambition. "I shall never be satisfied", he told his father, "until I play on this ground". Bradman left school in 1922 and went to work for a local real estate agent who encouraged his sporting pursuits by giving him time off when necessary. He gave up cricket in favour of tennis for two years, but resumed playing cricket in 1925–26.
Bradman first met Jessie Martha Menzies in 1920 when she boarded with the Bradman family, to be closer to school in Bowral. The couple married at St Paul's Anglican Church at Burwood, Sydney on 30 April 1932. The two had an impeccable marriage and were both devoted to each other. During their 65-year marriage, Jessie was "shrewd, reliable, selfless, and above all, uncomplicated...she was the perfect foil to his concentrated, and occasionally mercurial character". Bradman paid tribute to his wife numerous times, once saying succinctly, "I would never have achieved what I achieved without Jessie".
Bradman became a regular selection for the Bowral team; several outstanding performances earned him the attention of the Sydney daily press. Competing on matting-over-concrete pitches, Bowral played other rural towns in the Berrima District competition. Against Wingello, a team that included the future Test bowler Bill O'Reilly, Bradman made 234. In the competition final against Moss Vale, which extended over five consecutive Saturdays, Bradman scored 320 not out. During the following Australian winter (1926), an ageing Australian team lost The Ashes in England, and a number of Test players retired. The New South Wales Cricket Association began a hunt for new talent. Mindful of Bradman's big scores for Bowral, the association wrote to him, requesting his attendance at a practice session in Sydney. He was subsequently chosen for the "Country Week" tournaments at both cricket and tennis, to be played during separate weeks. His boss presented him with an ultimatum: he could have only one week away from work, and therefore had to choose between the two sports. He chose cricket. Bradman's performances during Country Week resulted in an invitation to play grade cricket in Sydney for St George in the 1926–27 season. He scored 110 on his debut, making his first century on a turf pitch. On 1 January 1927, he turned out for the NSW second team. For the remainder of the season, Bradman travelled the 130 kilometres (81 mi) from Bowral to Sydney every Saturday to play for St George.
On the tour, the dynamic nature of Bradman's batting contrasted sharply with his quiet, solitary off-field demeanour. He was described as aloof from his teammates and he did not offer to buy them a round of drinks, let alone share the money given to him by Whitelaw. Bradman spent a lot of his free time alone, writing, as he had sold the rights to a book. On his return to Australia, Bradman was surprised by the intensity of his reception; he became a "reluctant hero". Mick Simmons wanted to cash in on their employee's newly won fame. They asked Bradman to leave his teammates and attend official receptions they organised in Adelaide, Melbourne, Goulburn, his hometown Bowral and Sydney, where he received a brand new custom-built Chevrolet. At each stop, Bradman received a level of adulation that "embarrassed" him. This focus on individual accomplishment, in a team game, "... permanently damaged relationships with his contemporaries". Commenting on Australia's victory, the team's vice-captain Vic Richardson said, "... we could have played any team without Bradman, but we could not have played the blind school without Clarrie Grimmett". A modest Bradman can be heard in a 1930 recording saying "I have always endeavoured to do my best for the side, and the few centuries that have come my way have been achieved in the hope of winning matches. My one idea when going into bat was to make runs for Australia."
Within the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which administered English cricket at the time, few voices were more influential than "Plum" Warner's, who, when considering England's response to Bradman, wrote that it "must evolve a new type of bowler and develop fresh ideas and strange tactics to curb his almost uncanny skill". To that end, Warner orchestrated the appointment of Douglas Jardine as England captain in 1931, as a prelude to Jardine leading the 1932–33 tour to Australia, with Warner as team manager. Remembering that Bradman had struggled against bouncers during his 232 at The Oval in 1930, Jardine decided to combine traditional leg theory with short-pitched bowling to combat Bradman. He settled on the Nottinghamshire fast bowlers Harold Larwood and Bill Voce as the spearheads for his tactics. In support, the England selectors chose another three pacemen for the squad. The unusually high number of fast bowlers caused a lot of comment in both countries and roused Bradman's own suspicions.
Bradman's chaotic wedding to Jessie Menzies in April 1932 epitomised these new and unwelcome intrusions into his private life. The church "was under siege all throughout the day ... uninvited guests stood on chairs and pews to get a better view"; police erected barriers that were broken down and many of those invited could not get a seat. Just weeks later, Bradman joined a private team organised by Arthur Mailey to tour the United States and Canada. He travelled with his wife, and the couple treated the trip as a honeymoon. Playing 51 games in 75 days, Bradman scored 3,779 runs at 102.1, with 18 centuries. Although the standard of play was not high, the effects of the amount of cricket Bradman had played in the three previous years, together with the strains of his celebrity status, began to show on his return home.
The public clamoured for the return of Bradman to defeat Bodyline: "he was the batsman who could conquer this cankerous bowling ... 'Bradmania', amounting almost to religious fervour, demanded his return". Recovered from his indisposition, Bradman returned to the side in Alan Kippax's position. A world record crowd of 63,993 at the MCG saw Bradman come to the crease on the first day of the Second Test with the score at 2/67. A standing ovation ensued that delayed play for several minutes. Bradman anticipated receiving a bouncer as his first ball and, as the bowler delivered, he moved across his stumps to play the hook shot. The ball failed to rise and Bradman dragged it onto his stumps; the first-ball duck was his first in a Test. The crowd fell into stunned silence as he walked off. However, Australia took a first innings lead in the match, and another record crowd on 2 January 1933 watched Bradman hit a counter-attacking second innings century. His unbeaten 103 (from 146 balls) in a team total of 191 helped set England a target of 251 to win. Bill O'Reilly and Bert Ironmonger bowled Australia to a series-levelling victory amid hopes that Bodyline was beaten.
The constant glare of celebrity and the tribulations of the season forced Bradman to reappraise his life outside the game and to seek a career away from his cricketing fame. Harry Hodgetts, a South Australian delegate to the Board of Control, offered Bradman work as a stockbroker if he would relocate to Adelaide and captain South Australia (SA). Unknown to the public, the SA Cricket Association (SACA) instigated Hodgetts' approach and subsidised Bradman's wage. Although his wife was hesitant about moving, Bradman eventually agreed to the deal in February 1934.
As early as 1939, Bradman had a Royal Navy ship named after him. Built as a fishing trawler in 1936, HMS Bradman was taken over by the Admiralty in 1939, but was sunk by German aircraft the following year.
The Bradmans lived in the same modest, suburban house in Holden Street, Kensington Park in Adelaide for all but the first three years of their married life. They experienced personal tragedy in raising their children: their first-born son died as an infant in 1936, their second son, John (born in 1939) contracted polio, and their daughter, Shirley, born in 1941, had cerebral palsy from birth. His family name proved a burden for John Bradman; he legally changed his last name to Bradsen in 1972. Although claims were made that he became estranged from his father, it was more a matter of "the pair inhabit[ing] different worlds", and the two remained in contact through the years. After the cricketer's death, a collection of personal letters written by Bradman to his close friend Rohan Rivett between 1953 and 1977 was released and gave researchers new insights into Bradman's family life, including the strain between father and son.
During the 1938 tour of England, Bradman played the most consistent cricket of his career. He needed to score heavily as England had a strengthened batting line-up, while the Australian bowling was over-reliant on O'Reilly. Grimmett was overlooked, but Jack Fingleton made the team, so the clique of anti-Bradman players remained. Playing 26 innings on tour, Bradman recorded 13 centuries (a new Australian record) and again made 1,000 first-class runs before the end of May, becoming the only player to do so twice. In scoring 2,429 runs, Bradman achieved the highest average ever recorded in an English season: 115.66.
The next season, Bradman made an abortive bid to join the Victoria state side. The Melbourne Cricket Club advertised the position of club secretary and he was led to believe that if he applied, he would get the job. The position, which had been held by Hugh Trumble until his death in August 1938, was one of the most prestigious jobs in Australian cricket. The annual salary of £1,000 would make Bradman financially secure while allowing him to retain a connection with the game. On 18 January 1939, the club's committee, on the casting vote of the chairman, chose former Test batsman Vernon Ransford over Bradman.
Bradman joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on 28 June 1940 and was passed fit for air crew duty. The RAAF had more recruits than it could equip and train and Bradman spent four months in Adelaide before the Governor-General of Australia, Lord Gowrie, persuaded Bradman to transfer to the army, a move that was criticised as a safer option for him. Given the rank of lieutenant, he was posted to the Army School of Physical Training at Frankston, Victoria, to act as a divisional supervisor of physical training. The exertion of the job aggravated his chronic muscular problems, diagnosed as fibrositis. Surprisingly, in light of his batting prowess, a routine army test revealed that Bradman had poor eyesight.
Invalided out of service in June 1941, Bradman spent months recuperating, unable even to shave himself or comb his hair due to the extent of the muscular pain he suffered. He resumed stockbroking during 1942. In his biography of Bradman, Charles Williams expounded the theory that the physical problems were psychosomatic, induced by stress and possibly depression; Bradman read the book's manuscript and did not disagree. Had any cricket been played at this time, he would not have been available. Although he found some relief in 1945 when referred to the Melbourne masseur Ern Saunders, Bradman permanently lost the feeling in the thumb and index finger of his (dominant) right hand.
In June 1945, Bradman faced a financial crisis when the firm of Harry Hodgetts collapsed due to fraud and embezzlement. Bradman moved quickly to set up his own business, utilising Hodgetts' client list and his old office in Grenfell Street, Adelaide. The fallout led to a prison term for Hodgetts, and left a stigma attached to Bradman's name in the city's business community for many years.
After his return to Australia, Bradman played in his own Testimonial match at Melbourne, scoring his 117th and last century, and receiving £9,342 in proceeds. In the 1949 New Year Honours, he was appointed Knight Bachelor for his services to the game, becoming the only Australian cricketer ever to be knighted. He commented that he "would have preferred to remain just Mister". The following year he published a memoir, Farewell to Cricket. Bradman accepted offers from the Daily Mail to travel with, and write about, the 1953 and 1956 Australian teams in England. The Art of Cricket, his final book published in 1958, is an instructional manual.
Bradman retired from his stockbroking business in June 1954, depending on the "comfortable" income earned as a board member of 16 publicly listed companies. His highest profile affiliation was with Argo Investments Limited, where he was chairman for a number of years. Charles Williams commented that, "[b]usiness was excluded on medical grounds, [so] the only sensible alternative was a career in the administration of the game which he loved and to which he had given most of his active life".
In the 1963 edition of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, Bradman was selected by Neville Cardus as one 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, W. G. Grace, Jack Hobbs, Tom Richardson and Victor Trumper.
On 16 June 1979, the Australian government awarded Bradman the nation's second-highest civilian honour at that time, Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), "in recognition of service to the sport of cricket and cricket administration". In 1980, he resigned from the ACB, to lead a more secluded life.
Bradman has been the subject of more biographies than any other Australian, apart from the bushranger Ned Kelly. Bradman himself wrote four books: Don Bradman's Book–The Story of My Cricketing Life with Hints on Batting, Bowling and Fielding (1930), My Cricketing Life (1938), Farewell to Cricket (1950) and The Art of Cricket (1958). The story of the Bodyline series was retold in a 1984 television mini-series, with Gary Sweet portraying Bradman.
On 10 December 1985, Bradman was the first of 120 inaugural inductees into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. He spoke of his philosophy for considering the stature of athletes:
The most significant of these legacy projects was the Bradman Museum, opened in 1989 at the Bradman Oval in Bowral. This organisation was reformed in 1993 as a non-profit charitable Trust, called the Bradman Foundation. In 2010, it was expanded and rebranded as the International Cricket Hall of Fame.
When the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame was created in Melbourne in 1996, Bradman was made one of its 10 inaugural members. In 2000, Bradman was selected by cricket experts as one of five Wisden Cricketers of the Century. Each of the 100 members of the panel were able to select five cricketers: all 100 voted for Bradman. The ICC Cricket Hall of Fame inducted him on 19 November 2009.
After his wife's death in 1997, Bradman suffered "a discernible and not unexpected wilting of spirit". The next year, on his 90th birthday, he hosted a meeting with his two favourite modern players, Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar, but he was not seen in his familiar place at the Adelaide Oval again. Hospitalised with pneumonia in December 2000, he returned home in the New Year and died there on 25 February 2001, aged 92.
Bradman's reclusiveness in later life is partly attributable to the ongoing health problems of his wife, particularly following the open-heart surgery Jessie underwent in her 60s. Lady Bradman died in 1997, aged 88, from cancer. This had a dispiriting effect on Bradman, but the relationship with his son improved, to the extent that John resolved to change his name back to Bradman. Since his father's death, John Bradman has become the spokesperson for the family and has been involved in defending the Bradman legacy in a number of disputes. The relationship between Bradman and his wider family is less clear, although nine months after Bradman's death, his nephew Paul Bradman criticised him as a "snob" and a "loner" who forgot his connections in Bowral and who failed to attend the funerals of Paul's mother and father.
In 1999, Bradman was named in the six man shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Century. Asteroid 2472 Bradman discovered by Luboš Kohoutek is named in his honour.
Bradman is immortalised in three popular songs from different eras, "Our Don Bradman" (1930s, by Jack O'Hagan), "Bradman" (1980s, by Paul Kelly), and "Sir Don", (a tribute by John Williamson performed at Bradman's memorial service). Bradman recorded several songs accompanying himself and others on piano in the early 1930s, including "Every Day Is A Rainbow Day For Me", with Jack Lumsdaine. In 2000, the Australian Government made it illegal for the names of corporations to suggest a link to "Sir Donald Bradman", if such a link does not in fact exist. Other entities with similar protection are the Australian and foreign governments, Saint Mary MacKillop, the Royal Family and the Returned and Services League of Australia.
Bradman won the toss on New Year's Day 1937, but again failed with the bat, scoring just 13. The Australians could not take advantage of a pitch that favoured batting, and finished the day at 6/181. On the second day, rain dramatically altered the course of the game. With the sun drying the pitch (in those days, covers could not be used during matches) Bradman declared to get England in to bat while the pitch was "sticky"; England also declared to get Australia back in, conceding a lead of 124. Bradman countered by reversing his batting order to protect his run-makers while conditions improved. The ploy worked and Bradman went in at number seven. In an innings spread over three days, he battled influenza while scoring 270 off 375 balls, sharing a record partnership of 346 with Jack Fingleton, and Australia went on to victory. In 2001, Wisden rated this performance as the best Test match innings of all time.
A memorial service to mark Bradman's life was held on 25 March 2001 at St Peter's Anglican Cathedral, Adelaide. The service was attended by a host of former and current Test cricketers, as well as Australia's then prime minister, John Howard, leader of the opposition Kim Beazley and former prime minister Bob Hawke. Eulogies were given by Richie Benaud and Governor-General Sir William Deane. The service was broadcast live on ABC Television to a viewing audience of 1.45 million. A private service for family and friends was earlier held at the Centennial Park Cemetery in the suburb of Pasadena, with many people lining both Greenhill and Goodwood Roads to pay their respects as his funeral motorcade passed by.
Bradman was honoured at a number of cricket grounds, notably when his portrait was hung in the Long Room at Lord's; until Shane Warne's portrait was added in 2005, Bradman was one of just three Australians to be honoured in this way. Bradman inaugurated a "Bradman Stand" at the Sydney Cricket Ground in January 1974; the Adelaide Oval also opened a Bradman Stand in 1990, which housed new media and corporate facilities. The Oval's Bradman Stand was demolished in 2013 as the stadium underwent an extensive re-development. Later in 1974, he attended a Lord's Taverners function in London where he experienced heart problems, which forced him to limit his public appearances to select occasions only. With his wife, Bradman returned to Bowral in 1976, where the new cricket ground was named in his honour. He gave the keynote speech at the historic Centenary Test at Melbourne in 1977.
Bradman's life and achievements were recognised in Australia with two notable issues. Three years before he died, he became the first living Australian to be featured on an Australian postage stamp. After his death, the Australian Government produced a 20-cent coin to commemorate his life. On 27 August 2018, to celebrate 110 years since his birth, Bradman was commemorated with a Google Doodle. To mark 150 years of the Cricketers' Almanack, Wisden named him as captain of an all-time Test World XI.
Currently, Donald Bradman is 113 years, 0 months and 26 days old. Donald Bradman will celebrate 114th birthday on a Saturday 27th of August 2022.
Find out about Donald Bradman birthday activities in timeline view here.