December 16, 1882
It all begins in Cambridge
Is born John Berry Hobbs, the eldest of 12 children of John Hobbs, a groundsman at Fenner's, a professional umpire, and later groundsman and umpire at Jesus College.
Becomes second coach and second umpire at Bedford Grammar School. In August of that year he plays for Royston, receiving a fee of half a guinea for each appearance. Hits a fine century against Herts Club & Ground, bringing immense joy to his father, who died soon afterwards.
Is signed by Surrey, but the two-year period of qualification for the county involves many an up and down. He starts with a duck, but his talent is obvious over the next two years.
April 24-26, 1905
Debut with a hero
On a bitterly cold Easter Monday, Hobbs makes his first-class debut
, for Surrey against Gentlemen of England, and opens the innings with boyhood hero, Tom Hayward, who is also instrumental in getting Hobbs to Surrey. Scores 18 and 88 in a drawn match. The Gentlemen captain WG Grace says, "He's goin' to be a good'un."
May 4-6, 1905
First of 199
Scores a second-innings 155 in his first County Championship match
, his first century, in only his second first-class match. Is awarded the county cap after the innings.
January 1-7, 1908
Debut Down Under
Having impressed against the touring googly bowlers of South Africa, Hobbs earns his Test debut
, against Australia at the MCG. Scores 83 and 28 in a one-wicket win. "Hobbs who had never before taken part in a Test Match scored 83 out of 160 in a trifle over three hours, his defence being very strong," noted Wisden
Is named one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year after a 2039-run-and-six-century season.
World, take note
On matting pitches in South Africa, Hobbs demonstrates quite positively that he has found the answer to the problems of the back-of-the-hand spinners. It's his first taste of playing on matting, on which the South African spinners are at their most viciously angular. In a 3-2 defeat
, he scores 539 runs at 67.37 - double the averages of England's next best three run-makers, Thompson (33.77), Woolley (32.00), Denton (26.66) and Rhodes (25.11). Also scores his first Test century during the tour.
August 21, 1912
Fastest to 2000
During his second-innings effort of 32 at The Oval
, he becomes the fifth man to score 2000 Test runs, and the quickest to the landmark. Also overtakes Tom Hayward's tally of 1999 runs.
Has scored five Test centuries and 2465 runs at 57.32 when World War I interrupts all cricket. Hobbs also has 65 first-class centuries by the time the war breaks out. Serves in the Royal Flying Corps as an Air Mechanic after a short spell in a munitions factory.
In his 37th year, when cricket resumes, Hobbs starts the most productive 10 years of his cricket. Scores 2594 at 60.32 in the first year back, and only twice in the next 10 years does he finish with less than 2000 runs for the year. In one of those two years, he plays only five matches on account of illness.
May 8, 1923
Hundred times hundred
Follows up his duck against Somerset
with a match-winning 116 not out in the second-innings, his 100th first-class century.
December 22, 1924
On top of the world
During his 115 against Australia in Sydney
, Hobbs becomes the leading run-getter and centurion in Tests, going past Clem Hill's 3412 runs, and Victor Trumper's eight centuries. It is Hobbs' 39th Test; Hill and Trumper took 49 and 48 respectively.
August 15-18, 1925
Going past WG
With twin centuries against Somerset
, he first equals WG Grace's record of 126 first-class centuries, and then beats it. "The Somerset captain asked me if I would mind waiting until those outside had all been admitted," Hobbs later wrote, on how he resumed on 91 overnight. "I had just the experience that was likely to make me more fidgety than ever - namely the experience of hanging about."
July 24, 1926
At a time when professionals are looked down upon, Hobbs becomes the first professional to lead England in a Test since Arthur Shrewsbury, when Arthur Carr falls ill just before The Oval Test
March 8-16, 1929
First to 5000
With 142 - his last century - and 65 in the Melbourne Test
, he becomes the first man to reach 5,000 Test runs.
August 9, 1930
Going past WG, part II
Amid confusion as to when he will pass Grace's record of 54,896 first-class runs - when he gets to 16 or 26 in this friendly match
against Middlesex, Hobbs scores 40, and doffs his cap to acknowledge the crowd's applause at both scores.
August 22, 1930
A painful end
Finishes Test career four months short of his 48th birthday. In his last Test
, at his home ground, The Oval, scores 47 and 9, and can't do much about the innings defeat that surrenders the Ashes to Australia. Ends with most runs and most centuries - 5410 and 15.
May 28, 1934
Last first-class century
Scores the last of his 199 hundreds, 116 against Lancashire at Old Trafford
. Retires from first-class cricket at the end of the season, with 61,760 runs. Takes up cricket writing soon after retiring.
Arise, Sir Jack
Becomes the first professional cricketer to receive a knighthood.
December 21, 1963
Dies in Hove, aged 81 years and five days. The Hobbs Gates at The Oval, and The Jack Hobbs Pavilion honour him. Each year on his birthday, the Master's Club meet at The Oval for a lunch in his honour. The menu always consists of roast lamb followed by apple pie, his favourite meal.
Place in history
A 100-member panel names him one of Wisden's five Cricketers of the Century. Other accolades in the preceding years include: being rated the fifth-greatest cricketer of all time by John Woodcock, being named in Richie Benaud's all-time XI, and being selected as one of the Six Giants of the Wisden Century by Neville Cardus.