[Bodyline Series] HOBBS, Sir John Berry ('Jack') [1882-1963: Cambridgeshire, Surrey and England]
A gelatin silver photographic postcard portrait of Jack Hobbs in his prime - presumably posed, but shown full-length walking out to bat with all the trimmings. The image is undated and is not credited in any way, but it is signed 'J.B. Hobbs' very clearly in ink across the pads. The originally blank verso is now even more interesting than the face of the card: it bears a lengthy autograph message signed by Hobbs. It was sent (presumably in an envelope, as there is no stamp or forwarding address on the card) from Largs [Bay], a suburb of Adelaide - significantly the date is 6 November 1932. Hobbs' Test career ended in 1930, but he accompanied the 1932-33 English touring team to Australia, describing the tour for 'The Star'. The card was written during the fourth match of the series (against South Australia), before the bodyline hostilities commenced; Hobbs' self-effacing message couldn't be further away in spirit. It commences and ends with the usual courtesies, but the heart of the matter is this: 'I am sorry to disappoint you but you will appreciate that I am not now a member of the team and I do not care to trouble them for autographs.... Hoping you will understand ...'. To quote Martin-Jenkins: 'A model cricketer in the widest sense, Jack Hobbs is remembered with affection not just as a master batsman but also as a man of natural dignity and charm, who through years of success remained unspoilt and unselfish'