In 2004, Fred Trueman published his memoirs called As It Was, written in a very 'down-to-earth' style. The book is full of funny stories; tales of life as a Test cricketer; of the many famous players that he met & played against, and of his days spent in the BBC's cricket commentary box. In 2007, journalists John Morgan and David Joy collated many of Fred's anecdotes in their book Trueman's Tales.
Frederick Sewards Trueman was born in South Yorkshire in 1931, and is reputed to have weighed over 14 lbs at birth! His father Alan worked both as a horseman and a miner.
Fred played cricket for Sheffield United Cricket Club at the age of 15, and when he left Maltby Secondary School, he joined Yorkshire County Cricket Club. At that time, only players born in Yorkshire were able to play for the county, and Fred just scraped in as his birthplace was only a quarter of a mile from the Nottinghamshire border!
Having done two years National Service in the RAF, Fred established himself as a fast bowler with Yorkshire and in 1952 was selected to play for England against India. In this match he took three wickets for 0 runs in 14 balls in India's 2nd innings and never looked back.
Fred, along with Lancashire fast bowler Brian Statham, became one of the best fast bowling combinations ever to play for England. Trueman became the first bowler from any country to take 300 wickets in Test matches finishing with a career total of 307.
However he was idolised by the supporters of Yorkshire who flocked to see him play. His easy bowling action, his mop of black hair and his menacing scowl as he prepared to bowl made him a popular figure with the Yorkshire County side for whom he played 459 matches and took 1,745 wickets.
Fred Trueman died in July 2006, and many tributes were paid to him. Umpire Dickie Bird said, "I rated him up there with the greatest fast bowlers of all time", whilst broadcaster, and Yorkshire cricket lover, Michael Parkinson, called Trueman "the greatest fast bowler we have ever produced". He was buried in the grounds of Bolton Abbey.
Trueman's daughter Rebecca, married film star Raquel Welch's son, Damon, in 1990.
Trueman retired as a player in 1969 but for many years wrote a cricket column for a Sunday newspaper. He became a regular 'after-dinner' speaker, renowned for his anecdotes about the game, and his 'tall-stories' became legendary! Trueman was also a regular member of the BBC's 'Test Match Special' commentary team for many years. He was awarded the OBE by the Queen in 1989, for his services to charity.
It was in November 2004 that I met Fred Trueman at the NEC in Birmingham. He signed my copy of his autobiography called As It Was, which had only just been published at that time.
This could have been considerably more if Trueman hadn't been dropped from the team so many times! This was because of his very aggressive approach to the game (he was nicknamed 'Fiery Fred') and his frequent 'fall-outs' with the cricketing authorities who didn't like his argumentative and outspoken opinions about cricket. In his autobiography he says, "I was often overlooked for England and, to my mind, the reason for this was personal."
Fred Trueman in action
Raquel Welch's son Damon at his wedding to
partner Brian Statham
Fred Trueman chats to England bowling
Rebecca Trueman (right)
Fred Truman's autograph in my copy of his book
Fred Trueman (1931 - 2006)
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