Tom Richardson: One of Giants of the Wisden Century (1870–1912)
Tom Richardson was born at Byfleet, in Surrey, on August 11, 1870. He played his first match for the county in 1892, against Essex, at the Oval. In all matches that season for Surrey, he obtained 101 wickets for just over thirteen and a half runs each.
In 1893, he proved himself to be the best bowler in England, and since that time, his position has never been questioned. In the match against Warwickshire that year, at the Oval, he obtained four wickets in four balls, while in the following year, against Essex, on the same ground, he obtained all ten wickets in the first innings.
In the winter of 1894–95, he visited Australia as a member of Mr. Stoddart’s team, and though he took some time to accustom himself to the Colonial wickets and climate, his bowling, when he regained his form, placed him at the head of affairs. Standing 6 feet 1 inches and weighing 12 st. 7 lbs., Tom Richardson is possessed of a wonderful physique, and his untiring energy, coupled with his cheerful disposition, makes him a favorite wherever he goes.
With an exceptional long run-up, he managed to take a magical figure of 1,005 wickets in four seasons between 1894 and 1897—a total only matched by slow bowler Tich Freeman during that time. He also bagged 290 wickets in 1895—a total only twice equaled by Freeman. He was chosen by Neville Cardus in 1963 as one of the “Six Giants of the Wisden Century.” The other five players were Sydney Francis Barnes, Donald Bradman, Dr. W. G. Grace, Sir Jack Hobbs, and Victor Trumper. Tom Richardson died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 41.