From the Plough to the USA

The Lillywhites – Armitage is on right of the back row wearing a tie

Thomas Armitage

The only cricketer to play for both England and America

Born 25/04/1848 in Walkley, Sheffield

Cricket biography lists him as 5’ 10”, a straight round-armed middle-paced bowler, combined with underhanded lobs

Armitage was elected onto Hallam Cricket Club committee at its AGM at the Plough in 1867. He also played football for Hallam FC

Armitage played for Yorkshire between1872 – 1878. He made 1,074 runs with an average of 13.59, and taking 119 wickets for 14.08 runs each. His highest score for the county was 95 v. Middlesex at Sheffield in 1876, and his chief success as a bowler was to take with lobs 13 wickets for 46 runs (6 for 20 and 7 for 26) against Surrey at Sheffield in June, 1876.

Armitage also featured in the first ever test matches against Australia. He played for England vs. Australia in first test series – the Lillywhite’s Tour of 1876/1877

In the first test, after he had dropped an easy catch in Australia’s first innings, Armitage, determined to make amends, bet his captain £7 to £1 that he would make a fifty. He failed in that regard as well. In his defence, he, like several of his team-mates, had suffered from severe seasickness on the return trip from New Zealand and was reportedly barely able to stand on the morning of the match

Using money earned from the Australian cricket tour, Armitage brought the Plough in 1868 and remained landlord until 1886. He continued to play to play cricket for various local teams including Hallam and Sheffield Players as well as football for Hallam FC.

In 1880, his wife, Mary Ellen, died from TB at the Plough, leaving Armitage with two small children, Herbert and Hannah. The following year, he married Evangeline Standell once described as a ‘servant at the Plough’

Armitage moved to the USA in1886 to join Oxford Cricket Club in Philadelphia as a professional player. During that same year, he played for The Players of the United States vs. The Players of Philadelphia. Historically, this has been recognised as a first class match making Thomas Armitage the only cricketer to represent both England and the USA.

In 1887, Armitage returned to Sheffield to reunite with Evangeline. They would eventually have three more children Thomas, Samuel and Ruth.

The following year, the family moved to Chicago. Armitage worked for the famous railway car company, Pullman. He also played for Pullman Cricket Club. In the following years he worked at various jobs with Pullman whilst also spending some time as a barkeeper. His last recorded cricket match came in 1913 when he captained Pullman CC. It is thought the club folded in 1914.

Eventually, Armitage went to live with his daughter, Ruth in Chicago where he died of stomach cancer in Chicago in 1922.