Frank Stanley Lee
July 24, 1905, St John's Wood, London
March 30, 1982, Westminster, London, (aged 76y 249d)
Left hand Bat
Right arm Medium
Frank Lee, who died suddenly on March 30, 1982, was the youngest of three brothers who attained distinction in first-class cricket. The eldest, Harry, went in first for Middlesex for years. Jack and Frank, seeing no opening in Middlesex, migrated to Somerset, where they opened the innings together for several seasons and on one occasion put up a hundred together thrice in four days. Jack was killed in action in Normandy. Frank had a couple of trials for Middlesex in August 1925, but although in his first innings he scored a valuable 42 in two hours against Worcestershire, was not persevered with. He started to play for Somerset in 1929 and within a few weeks had shown his value with innings of 62 and 107 against Hampshire. He finished the season with 852 runs and an average of 19.81. After a disappointing year in 1930, he got his thousand runs for the first time in 1931: indeed, the three Lees provided the first instance of three professional brothers achieving the feat in the same season. It was in that year, too, that Luckes, the regular wicket-keeper, being out of action, Frank Lee, always a good fielder, took over his position and emerged from the ordeal without discredit. His great season was 1938, when he became the first Somerset player to score 2,000 runs in a summer and also the first to make three hundreds in successive innings: his final figures were 2,019 runs with an average of 44.86. His highest innings for the county was 169 against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 1946. Somerset went in 209 runs in arrears, but Lee, batting for six hours, averted any danger of defeat. One of his best performances was against the Australians in 1934, when he went in first and carried his bat for 59 out of a total of 116 against O'Reilly on a damp wicket. In 1947 he had a record benefit for the county, but his own form was poor and he retired at the end of the season.
He and his brother were, apart from Braund and A. Young, almost the first professionals to play for the county mainly as batsmen, but they were certainly not in the adventurous Somerset tradition. Frank was a solid rather than an entertaining left-hander, but, as his record shows, there could be no doubt about his value. In his first-class career he scored 15,310 runs with an average of 27.93, including 23 centuries. Not normally regarded as a bowler, he took five for 53 against Warwickshire at Taunton in 1933 and in the next match was given the new ball. He bowled right-arm medium-pace. From 1948 to 1963 he was a first-class umpire and quickly became recognised as one of the best and most respected on the list, standing in 29 Tests. He will be especially remembered for his fearless no-balling of Griffin, the South African in the Lord's Test in 1960, the first time a member of a touring team had been no-balled in England.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
Batting & Fielding
Umpire & Referee