Frank Mooney      

Full name Francis Leonard Hugh Mooney

Born May 26, 1921, Wellington

Died March 8, 2004, Wellington (aged 82 years 287 days)

Major teams New Zealand, Wellington

Also known as Starlight

Batting style Right-hand bat

Bowling style Right-arm bowler

Fielding position Wicketkeeper

Batting and fielding averages
Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave 100 50 6s Ct St
Tests 14 22 2 343 46 17.15 0 0 0 22 8
First-class 91 150 14 3143 180 23.11 2 12 168 54
Bowling averages
Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10
Tests 14 1 8 0 0 - - - 0.00 - 0 0 0
First-class 91 6 0 0 - - - 0.00 - 0 0 0
Career statistics
Test debut England v New Zealand at Leeds, Jun 11-14, 1949 scorecard
Last Test South Africa v New Zealand at Port Elizabeth, Feb 5-9, 1954 scorecard
Test statistics
First-class span 1941/42 - 1954/55

Wisden Cricketer obituary
With a very ordinary Test record (14 Tests, batting average of 17.15, 30 wicketkeeping dismissals), Frank Mooney, who died aged 82, might be consigned to history's waste-paper basket. Yet before, during and after his brief career Mooney was an astonishing character - possibly the most colourful character New Zealand cricket has known. Mooney loved the outrageous risk, the impromptu punt on whatever took his and his band of friends' fancy. As a cricketer Mooney was a stylish `keeper and a batsman so determined to make the most of his modest talents that during playing hours he would be as silent and serious as a tomb. Which explained the fact that when the stumps were up Mooney's alter ego, nicknamed Starlight, would be out twinkling round the bars and dance floors of Wellington. Not long after his cricket career finished in 1954-55, Mooney re-emerged in the public eye after a spectacular five-figure bet. To win, Mooney had to drive the 410 miles from Auckland to Wellington in under seven hours. In those days the roads were indifferent and mostly back-country. Mooney had a cool planner's brain behind his gamester face. He had a powerful Jaguar engine further super-charged. He arranged for seven petrol stations to be open at small hours of the morning. He started about midnight, rocketed through the night, and was in Wellington about six-and-a-half hours later - without being cited by the traffic police. Inevitably, the news of Mooney's stampede leaked out. Politicians and senior traffic officers were mightily embarrassed. Mooney forestalled what might have been a manhunt by owning up, paying a modest fine (a small percentage of the bet) on the police belief that at some stage he must have exceeded 100mph. Not long afterward Mooney, by now in his forties, and his friends were arguing about the merits of Olympic champion runners Peter Snell and Murray Halberg, both Kiwis, and the magic of the four-minutes mile. No magic, said Mooney. He could run a mile in under five minutes. The betting money poured in. Mooney gained a month to prepare, had an expert design him a four-week crash course training programme - and won the bet with seconds to spare. Mooney had his ups and downs, in cricket, business and life. If there remained one regret it concerned Lawrence Rowe, the West Indian batsman. Mooney, then a national selector, accompanied New Zealand on the 1971-72 tour of the West Indies. After Rowe, little-known outside Jamaica, had scored 227 for Jamaica against the tourists and 214 and 100 not out in the first Test, Mooney was quickly acclaiming Rowe as the `next Bradman'. Mooney rather implied that he had `discovered' Rowe as a world-class player. Sadly for Mooney, and perhaps world cricket, Rowe did not complete that 1972 series, and later illness did not allow Rowe's genius to develop. As a result, Mooney was never immortalised for discovering the `next Bradman', but he did leave a colourful imprint on cricket history.
Don Cameron, The Wisden Cricketer, May 2004

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