Reginald Oscar Schwarz
May 04, 1875, Lee, London, England
November 18, 1918, Etaples, France, (aged 43y 198d)
Right hand Bat
Right arm Medium, Right arm Offbreak
St Paul's School; Cambridge University
Reggie Schwarz was one of the men who helped to put South African cricket on the world map. Educated at St Paul's School in London, he was an ordinary cricketer who played a few times for Middlesex before emigrating to South Africa. He returned with the 1904 South African side, and learned the art of bowling the googly from BJT Bosanquet, passing the knowledge on to his team-mates. While others embraced the googly into their repertoire, Schwarz used it as his stock delivery, relying on the ball picking up speed off the pitch and lifting sharply, often to packed leg-side fields. In 1904 he headed the bowling averages with 65 wickets at 18.26, and did so again in 1907 with 137 wickets at 11.70. he also enjoyed success in Australia in 1910-11, with 59 wickets at 25.00, including 5 for 102 and 6 for 47 in the first and fifth Tests at Sydney. Before emigrating to South Africa he played three times for England at rugby as a half-back, and won a Blue at Cambridge in 1893. A quiet man, he died of Spanish Influenza on the Western Front seven days after the Armistice in 1918.
Major Schwarz, as every one knows, was famous as a slow bowler. Few men did so much to establish the reputation of South African cricket. He learnt the game in England and played for Middlesex before going to South Africa. In those early days, however, he did not make any great mark. His fame began when he returned to this country with the South African team of 1904. Studying very carefully the method of B. J. T. Bosanquet, he acquired, and afterwards carried to a high standard, the art of bowling off-breaks with, to all appearance, a leg-break action. He did very well in 1904, but his success that year was only a foretaste of far greater things to come. In the brilliant tour of 1907 he and Vogler and G. A. Faulkner raised South African cricket to the highest pitch it has ever reached. He was less successful than his two comrades in the Test Matches against England, but for the whole tour he was easily first in bowling, taking 143 wickets at a cost of 11½ runs each. He proved rather disappointing in Australia, and in the Triangular Tournament in this country in 1912 he failed. Before going to South Africa Schwarz was an International half-back at Rugby football, playing against Scotland in 1899 and against Wales and Ireland two seasons later. He also played for Cambridge against Oxford in 1893. He was born on May 4, 1875, and was educated at St. Paul's School. Inasmuch as he always made the ball turn from the off and had no leg-break Schwarz was not in the strict sense of the word a googly bowler, and was in this respect inferior to his colleagues Vogler and Faulkner. Still, when at his best, he was a truly formidable opponent, his accuracy of length in the season of 1907, in combination with such a big break, being extraordinary.
The writer of the obituary notice in the Times said: Personally `Reggie' Schwarz was a man of exceptional charm, and his untimely death will bring real sorrow to his hosts of friends in many parts of the world. He had the great gift of absolute modesty and self-effacement. No one meeting him casually would ever have guessed the renown he had won in the world of sport. Quiet, almost retiring, in manner; without the least trace of side; and with a peculiarly attractive voice and way of speaking, Schwarz impelled and commanded the affection even of acquaintances. During his years in South Africa he was secretary to Sir Abe Bailey -- a post which his social gifts enabled him to fill with remarkable success. Before coming to Europe for service in France, he had won distinction in the campaign in German South-West Africa. All who knew him knew that at the first possible opportunity he would be in the field in France, quietly and unostentatiously devoting all his gifts -- gifts that were bound to ensure his success as an officer -- to the service of his country. He had been wounded twice.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
Batting & Fielding