PARKER, JOHN FREDERICK, who died on January 26, 1983, aged 69, played for Surrey from 1932 to 1952, his career spanning the last days of Jack Hobbs to the early days of Peter May. For years he was an essential member of the side, a consistent bat and a fine driver whose instinct was to attack and many of whose best innings were played in a crisis, a medium-paced bowler who could open if required and who, without many sensational performances, was always getting wickets, and a safe catcher in the slips. A tall man, he would have done even better but for a troublesome back.
He was almost solely a county player and, though he had been picked for the tour of India in 1939 which never took place, one may doubt if he would have established himself in Test cricket. It is, however, fair to point out that the war deprived him of his cricket between the ages of 26 and 33, when he might have expected to be at his best. He had a good trial in 1932 and 1933 and, without doing anything exceptional, showed promise, but then came a setback: in 1934 he lost his place and did little more until 1937, when he scored 915 runs with an average of 27.72 and took 65 wickets at 28.36. In 1938 came his first century and in 1939 he surpassed anything he had done before with 1,549 runs and an average of 37.78 and 56 wickets at 22.83. This improvement was partly due to health, while in bowling he concentrated more on length and on always aiming at the stumps.
But on the whole his best years were after the war. In 1946, despite further trouble with his health, he headed the bowling averages with 56 wickets at 15.58 and followed in 1947 by heading the batting. In 1949 he made the highest score of his career, 255 against the New Zealanders, made out of 568 in six and a half hours, and he continued to be a valuable member of the Surrey side until 1952, when, although he was unable to bowl, he still got his 1,000 runs as usual, but retired at the end of the season, having had the satisfaction of playing in the first Surrey team to win the Championship since 1914. He had had a benefit in 1951. In all first-class cricket he scored 14,272 runs with an average of 31.58, including twenty centuries, took 543 wickets at 28.87 and caught 331 catches.