Martin Bladen Hawke 7th Baron Hawke to give him his full title captained Yorkshire between 1883-1910. Although he was an adopted Yorkshireman, Hawke had a major impact on the fortunes of the county’s cricket team in the late Victorian/Edwardian period. His inheritance and title would see him live at Wighill Park near Tadcaster.
In the 1880s it was a tradition that an amateur player, such as Lord Hawke would, regardless of ability, take on the role of captain. While this structure may have upset the balance of most teams, it seemed to work in Yorkshire. Through his captaincy he took the White rose to eight County Championship titles, making him one of the most successful captains ever. Although he was not the greatest player himself and finished his career with a first class average of just 20.15, as a middle-order batsman, it was his leadership and man-management skills which was the basis of his success. Hawke’s captaincy was famous for his financial innovations, such as a £2 winter pay allowance to his team and a bonus system which was based on their performances throughout the season.
In his latter years Hawke became President of the MCC through the First World War and then Honourary Treaurer in the 1930s. He was known for his outspoken views on the issues of employing a professional captain, something which became a huge issue in the Yorkshire team of the 1920s and 30s.
He died at the age of aged 78 in 1938, but remains a much celebrated character in the history of Yorkshire County Cricket Club.