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Sir Leonard Hutton (23 June 1916 – 6 September 1990) was an English cricketer who played as an opening batsman for Yorkshire County Cricket Club from 1934 to 1955 and for England in 79 Test matches between 1937 and 1955.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack described him as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket.
He set a record in 1938 for the highest individual innings in a Test match in only his sixth Test appearance, scoring 364 runs against Australia, a milestone that stood for nearly 20 years (and remains an England Test record).
In 1952, he became the first professional cricketer of the 20th Century to captain England in Tests; under his captaincy England won the Ashes the following year for the first time in 19 years.
Following the Second World War, he was the mainstay of England's batting, and the team depended greatly on his success. Marked out as a potential star from his teenage years, Hutton made his debut for Yorkshire in 1934 and quickly established himself at county level.
By 1937, he was playing for England and when the war interrupted his career in 1939, critics regarded him as one of the leading batsmen in the country, and even the world.
Hutton was born on 23 June 1916 in the Moravian community of Fulneck, Pudsey, the youngest of five children to Henry Hutton and his wife Lily (née Swithenbank). Many of his family were local cricketers and Hutton soon became immersed in the sport, which he both played and read about with enthusiasm. He practised in the playground of Littlemoor Council School, which he attended from 1921 until 1930, and at Pudsey St Lawrence Cricket Club, which he joined as a junior. At the age of 12, he made his first appearance for Pudsey St Lawrence's second eleven and by 1929 had reached the first team. Locals encouraged him to meet the Yorkshire and England cricketer Herbert Sutcliffe, a neighbour, from whom Hutton received coaching in Sutcliffe's garden. Sutcliffe was impressed by the young batsman, and commended him to Yorkshire as a good prospect.
Following this endorsement, Hutton went to the county's indoor practice shed at Headingley in February 1930. George Hirst, a former Yorkshire cricketer responsible for assessing and coaching young players, believed that Hutton's batting technique was essentially already complete. Bill Bowes, the Yorkshire pace bowler, was equally impressed, and helped Hutton to correct a minor flaw in his technique. Hutton was sufficiently encouraged to decide to attempt a career in professional cricket, but at the prompting of his parents decided to learn a trade as well. During 1930, he watched the Australian Don Bradman hit 334 at Headingley in a Test match, then a record individual score in Tests—which he himself would surpass eight years later. Later that year, Hutton enrolled at Pudsey Grammar School where he spent a year studying technical drawing and quantitative work before joining his father at a local building firm, Joseph Verity. After becoming a professional cricketer, Hutton continued to work for the company during winter months until 1939.
Career before the Second World War
By 1933, Hutton was regularly opening the batting for the Pudsey St Lawrence first team in the Bradford Cricket League. By close observation of his opening partner, the former Yorkshire county batsman Edgar Oldroyd, Hutton further developed his batting technique, especially in defence. The local press soon identified Hutton as a player of promise, particularly after he scored a match-winning 108 not out in the Priestley Cup. Senior figures within Yorkshire cricket identified him as a potential successor to Percy Holmes as an opening partner to Sutcliffe; at this stage in his career, Hutton was also considered a promising leg spin bowler. In the 1933 season Hutton was selected for the Yorkshire Second Eleven. Although he failed to score a run in either of his first two innings, over the season he scored 699 runs at an average of 69.90. Yorkshire appointed Cyril Turner as Hutton's mentor; Hedley Verity and Bowes also offered Hutton guidance in his early career.
Hutton made his first-class debut for Yorkshire in 1934, at the age of 17 the youngest Yorkshire player since Hirst, 45 years earlier. In his first match, against Cambridge University, he was run out for a duck but scored an unbeaten 50 runs in his second match; he followed this with another half-century against Warwickshire on his County Championship debut. He played regularly for the rest of the season but to prevent his overexposure to Championship cricket, Yorkshire limited his appearances and returned him periodically to the second eleven. In matches for the first team, Hutton shared large first-wicket partnerships with Wilf Barber and with Arthur Mitchell, before scoring his maiden first-class century in an innings of 196 against Worcestershire. At the time, he was the youngest Yorkshire batsman to score a first-class century. He finished the season with a total of 863 runs at an average of 33.19;
An operation on his nose before the 1935 season delayed Hutton's appearance on the cricket field that year. Attempting to return too quickly, he endured poor health which limited his subsequent appearances and effectiveness; by the middle of August he had scored a total of just 73 runs. A century against Middlesex led to run of bigger scores, and his contribution to Yorkshire's County Championship victory that season was 577 runs at an average in first-class matches of 28.85. In the winter of 1935–36 Hutton went on his first overseas tour, as Yorkshire visited Jamaica. In the 1936 season he reached 1,000 runs in a season for the first time—1,282 runs at an average of 29.81—and was awarded his county cap in July. He took part in several large partnerships through the season, including one of 230 with Sutcliffe, although he experienced a sequence of low scores in May and June.
Throughout his first seasons, Hutton faced press criticism for his caution and reluctance to play attacking shots. Although regarding him a certain England selection in the future, critics thought Hutton slightly dull and pedestrian. Yorkshire remained unconcerned; cricket writer Alan Hill believes Hutton's subsequent success was built on this initial establishment of a defensive technique. His achievements brought limited recognition, owing to the high level of expectation surrounding him. This sense of frustration was heightened by comments from Sutcliffe in 1935, when he wrote that Hutton was "a certainty for a place as England's opening batsman. He is a marvel – the discovery of a generation ... His technique is that of a maestro." Such praise was rare from Sutcliffe, but Hutton found the comments a burden, while others found them embarrassing.
After Hutton began 1937 with a series of high scores—including an innings of 271 against Derbyshire, the reigning County Champions, and 153 against Leicestershire two days later when he and Sutcliffe shared a 315-run opening partnership—he was chosen to play for England against New Zealand in the first Test match of the season. On 26 June, he made his Test debut at Lord's Cricket Ground, scoring 0 and 1. Retaining his place in the England team after scoring centuries for Yorkshire in the following games, he scored his maiden Test hundred on 24 July in the second Test at Old Trafford, Manchester. He batted for three-and-a-half hours to score exactly 100 runs and shared a century opening partnership with Charlie Barnett. Hutton's remaining two innings in the Test series yielded 14 and 12, giving him 127 runs at an average of 25.40. Also in 1937, Hutton made his first appearance for the Players against the Gentlemen at Lord's. In total that year he scored 2,888 runs, more than double his previous seasonal best, at an average of 56.62 and including ten centuries. He also recorded the best bowling performance of his career, six wickets for 76 against Leicestershire, altogether taking ten wickets in the match—the only time he achieved this. His performances that year earned him selection as one of Wisden's Cricketers of the Year. The citation praised his attitude, technique, fielding and bowling, noting however that some commentators continued to criticise his overcaution.
In early matches of the 1938 season, with an Ashes series against Australia pending, Hutton made three centuries and scored 93 not out. Selected for a Test trial, he shared a century opening partnership with Bill Edrich, and was selected for the first Test at Trent Bridge in Nottingham beginning on 28 June. In just over three hours, Hutton scored 100 from 221 deliveries on his Ashes debut, adding 219 with Charlie Barnett for the first wicket. England, in Wally Hammond's first match as Test captain, posted a total of 658 for eight wickets, but the match was drawn. Hutton failed in the second Test, with two single figure scores in another drawn game. He was generally unsuccessful with the bat in the following weeks, during which the third Test was entirely rained off. Following a sequence of low scores for Yorkshire, Hutton's finger was broken in a match against Middlesex played on a dangerous pitch at Lord's. Consequently, he could not play in the fourth Test, played at his home ground, Headingley, in which England were soundly beaten. After missing a month of cricket, Hutton played just two games before his selection for the final Test of the series.
The last Test was played at The Oval and began on 20 August 1938. Hammond won the toss on a very good pitch for batting, and after an early wicket fell, Hutton and Maurice Leyland, his Yorkshire teammate, took the score to 347 for one wicket after the first day. Hutton was unbeaten on 160 although Australia missed a chance to dismiss him, stumped, when he had scored 40. After a rest day, the Yorkshire batsmen took their partnership to 382 before Leyland was out. Hutton then shared substantial partnerships with Hammond and Joe Hardstaff junior, taking his personal score to 300 at the end of the second day, out of a total of 634 for five. In the process he surpassed the previous highest Test score by an England batsman in a home match. Hutton maintained caution throughout; Wisden commented that his dominance of the bowling had become slightly monotonous after two days, although it recognised his skill. On the third day (23 August), the Australians made a concerted effort to dismiss Hutton before he broke Bradman's 1930 record Ashes score of 334— the record score in a Test match was Hammond's 336 not out against New Zealand, but it was compiled against what was perceived as inferior bowling, and Bradman's total was more prestigious. Although showing nerves as he approached the record, Hutton passed Bradman's score with a cut off Chuck Fleetwood-Smith, and extended his score to 364 before he was out, caught. Lasting for more than 13 hours, with 847 balls faced, Hutton's innings was the longest in first-class cricket at the time. It was only the sixth Test of his career. The innings was the highest individual score in a Test until Garfield Sobers scored 365 not out in 1958; it remains the 6th highest in Tests and is the most runs scored in an innings by an English player. England eventually scored 903, the highest team total in a Test at that time, before Hammond declared the innings closed. Australia were bowled out twice and England won by an innings and 579 runs to draw the series with one victory apiece.
Commentators mainly praised Hutton's concentration and stamina; his slow scoring, particularly when compared to Bradman's innings of 334, was excused on the grounds that the Oval match was played without a time limit, and run accumulation was more important than fast scoring. Furthermore, Hammond had instructed Hutton to bat as long as possible. Among views expressed by Test cricketers, Les Ames believed that while Hutton had shown great skill, a combination of a very easy wicket for batting and an unusually weak bowling attack presented an ideal opportunity. Former England captain Bob Wyatt described the innings as one of the greatest feats of concentration and endurance in the history of the game. Some critics expressed distaste at England's approach, but this opinion was not widely shared. In the aftermath of the innings, Hutton became famous, in constant demand from the public and press who compared him to Bradman. Hutton later described the acclamation he received as one of the worst things that happened to him, not least because expectations were unreasonably high every time he subsequently batted. When the season ended, Hutton had scored 1,874 runs in all matches at an average of 60.45.
From October 1938, Hutton toured South Africa with the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC)—the name by which England teams toured at the time—under the captaincy of Hammond; England won the series 1–0, with the other four games drawn. He scored centuries in two early matches but in a match against Transvaal, a delivery from Eric Davies knocked him unconscious and forced him to miss the first Test. Unsuccessful on his return in the second Test, Hutton scored a double century in the following tour match, but had another low score in the third Test, which England won. He was more successful in the final Tests. In the fourth, on a difficult pitch for batting, he scored 92. The final Test was drawn after ten days of play in a supposedly "timeless" Test. In a match which set a record aggregate of runs, Hutton scored 38 and 55 but his contributions were overshadowed by the heavy scoring of others. Although Hutton scored 265 runs in the Test series, at an average of 44.16, critics were disappointed, expecting more after his record innings of 1938. In all first-class matches, he scored 1,168 runs at an average of 64.88, the highest aggregate among the tourists, and accumulated five centuries. Spectators found his batting attractive and the Wisden correspondent regarded him the most accomplished batsman on the tour.
In its summary of the 1939 season, Wisden noted the development of Hutton into a more exciting batsman to watch, observing that he "gave further evidence of being one of the world's greatest batsmen". He began to dominate opening partnerships with Sutcliffe, in contrast to prior seasons when he was the junior partner. In total, he scored 2,883 runs, over 400 more than any other batsman and his average of 62.27 placed him second in the national averages behind Hammond. Among his twelve centuries, Hutton scored his highest total for Yorkshire, 280 not out in six hours against Hampshire, sharing an opening partnership of 315 with Sutcliffe. His contributions helped Yorkshire to their third successive Championship. He was also successful in representative matches, scoring 86 for the Players against the Gentlemen, and compiling 480 runs (averaging 96.00) in the Test matches against West Indies. England won the series, after recording victory in the first match and drawing the others. Hutton scored 196 in the first Test, hitting his last 96 runs in 95 minutes; he and Denis Compton scored 248 runs together in 133 minutes. After low scores in the second Test, Hutton scored 73 and 165 not out in the final game at the Oval. Facing a West Indian lead of 146, he batted five hours in the second innings, sharing a partnership of 264 with Hammond. He ended his season with a century against Sussex in Yorkshire's final match before the war; two days after its conclusion, the Second World War began.
Career after the war
County cricket fully resumed in 1946. Hutton was troubled by his injury; his wrists no longer rotated fully and he abandoned the hook shot. Nevertheless, he scored 1,552 runs at an average of 48.50, and was recognised by Wisden as Yorkshire's most effective batsman as the county won their fourth consecutive championship title. His four centuries included 183 not out against the touring Indian team, but he was less successful in the three Tests, scoring 123 runs at an average of 30.75. England won the series 1–0 but Hutton's only fifty was a defensive innings in the second Test, when he was troubled by a bad back. He was omitted from the Gentlemen and Players match, but was part of the MCC team touring party for the 1946–47 tour of Australia.
The MCC were reluctant to tour so soon after the war, but the Australian authorities were insistent. The tourists, led once more by Wally Hammond, were beaten 3–0 in the Test series, finding their opponents much stronger than expected. Hutton began the tour well, scoring two early centuries, the latter of which was described by Wisden as the best English innings of the tour. A string of other good performances drew praise from press and former players; one such report named him the best batsman in the world. However, Hutton failed to reach a score of 50 runs in the first three Tests; in the first, he was out for a first ball duck, and in the second, a short ball from Keith Miller struck him on his injured arm. In the second innings of the latter game, he quickly scored 37, frequently driving the bowling of Miller and Fred Freer before the bat slipped from his hand and hit the wicket, ending the innings. Even so, the display was praised by critics.
In the final two Tests, Hutton shared three consecutive century opening partnerships with Cyril Washbrook. A four-hour 94 in the first innings was followed by 76 in the second. Press opinion was divided over Hutton's performance; some critics, including the Australian bowlers, detected insecurity against fast bowling, particularly the bouncers with which Ray Lindwall and Miller targeted him. Hutton's preferred tactic of ducking under the ball reinforced the impression that he was afraid. In the final Test, Hutton scored a century, batting through the first day to score 122 not out, his first Test century in Australia, despite another barrage from Lindwall and Miller. The Sydney Morning Herald criticised the high number of short balls bowled by the Australian pacemen, bowled at Hutton as often as three times per over. After the second day was rained off, Hutton was taken ill overnight with tonsillitis, missed the remainder of the match and flew home soon after. In all first-class matches on tour, Hutton scored 1,267 runs at an average of 70.38, while in the Tests, he managed 417 runs at an average of 52.12; he topped both sets of averages. Wisden noted that it took him time to find form in the Tests, but that he often batted well despite ill health. Bill Bowes, covering the tour as a journalist, believed that Hutton was unable to master bowling faster than he had encountered for eight years, but acquitted himself reasonably well.
Hutton's tonsils were removed before the start of the 1947 season but his poor health continued, forcing him to miss some games at the start of the season. Nevertheless, his form remained good and he scored four centuries in early matches. Yorkshire dropped to equal seventh in the County Championship, affected by the retirement of key players and the frequent loss of Hutton to representative cricket. In the Test matches Hutton did not initially score heavily. His highest innings after three Tests was only 24 runs, and critics called his place into question. He returned to form during the fourth Test, his first at Headingley, with a four-and-a-half-hour century on a difficult pitch for batting. Hutton scored 83 and 36 in the drawn final Test, and England won the series 3–0 with the other two games drawn. Hutton hit 344 runs in the Test series at an average of 44.00; in all first-class matches, he scored eleven centuries and totalled 2,585 runs at an average 64.62, although his achievements that season were overshadowed by those of Denis Compton and Bill Edrich, who both broke the previous record for most runs scored in a season.
After 16 months of continuous cricket, Hutton chose to miss the 1947–48 winter MCC tour of the West Indies. However, injuries severely affected that team, and its captain Gubby Allen requested reinforcements. Subsequently, Hutton flew out to join the tour; Immediately after he arrived, having travelled for four days, Hutton played against British Guiana, scoring 138 and 62 not out, before appearing in the third Test. After a century against Jamaica, Hutton played innings of 56 and 60 in the fourth and final Test, giving him 171 runs at an average of 42.75 in the series. He came top of the first-class averages for the tourists, with 578 runs at an average of 64.22, and was judged by Wisden as one of the few batting successes in a team which lost the four-Test series 2–0 and failed to win a single match on tour.
During 1948, Hutton scored heavily for Yorkshire. Despite missing more than half the County Championship matches, he scored more runs at a better average than anyone else in the side. In county matches, Hutton averaged 92.05 and scored eight centuries. Some Yorkshire critics expressed concern at the team's dependence on Hutton and the poor performance of other batsmen. Hutton's main challenge that season came from the Australian side which toured England undefeated and won the Test series 4–0. In the early part of the tour, the Australians, and particularly the pace bowlers Lindwall and Miller, tried to shake Hutton's confidence by targeting him. Although Hutton failed on a difficult pitch in Yorkshire's match against the tourists, he was the only successful batsman against them when he appeared for MCC shortly after.
Hutton was selected for the first Test, but England were overwhelmed by the Australian fast bowlers and lost the match. After a failure in the first innings, Hutton scored 74 in the second, and briefly established dominance over Miller, who responded with a series of bouncers, one of which struck Hutton on the shoulder and provoked an angry reaction from the crowd. Miller bowled him in very poor light at the start of the fourth day's play. At Lord's in the second Test, also lost by England, Hutton scored 20 and 13, but of more concern to critics was the manner in which he batted. In the second innings, England had to bat for a long time to save the game, Wisden noted that Hutton, in contrast to his opening partner Washbrook, looked "plainly uncomfortable". He was nearly dismissed several times before he was out for 13, and returned to the pavilion to an uncomfortable silence from the crowd. The former Australian batsman Jack Fingleton, covering the tour as a journalist, described it as Hutton's worst effort in a Test. Bill O'Reilly, another former Australian player working as a journalist, said Hutton seemed to be struggling with concentration and was a shadow of his former self.
Following his struggles at Lord's, Hutton was omitted from the team for the third Test. Observers had noticed Hutton backing away from the fast bowlers, which the English selectors saw as a poor example from a leading batsman. The decision generated considerable acrimony, but surprised and pleased the Australians, who felt Hutton was their most formidable opponent with the bat. Press and critics generally judged the omission a mistake, although the Wisden correspondent believed the decision to be correct as Hutton benefited from a break. In later years, Norman Yardley, the England captain, agreed that the choice was a poor one. Hutton, who escaped most of the debate by playing in Scotland for Yorkshire, found the situation unsettling and Patrick Murphy, a sports journalist, writes that it "served to drive a reserved man further in on himself." Meanwhile, Hutton was chosen to captain the Players against the Gentlemen at Lord's; he scored 59 and 132 not out.
Recalled to the England team for the fourth Test at Headingley, Hutton scored 81 and 57. Given an excellent reception by his home crowd, he shared a century opening partnership with Washbrook in both innings, the second time they had accomplished this feat. Critics considered Hutton to be a better batsmen when he returned and that these innings repaired his damaged reputation. Australia needed 404 to win on a pitch favouring spin, but the poor performances of the main bowlers allowed Australia to record a seven wicket win described by Wisden as "astonishing". Hutton's contribution to the second Australian innings was to bowl four overs and concede 30 runs. Australia's dominance in the series was sealed by a crushing win in the fifth Test. England were bowled out for 52 runs in the first innings, of which Hutton scored 30 before being last out to an exceptional catch down the leg side from wicketkeeper Don Tallon. Wisden described Hutton as "the one exception to complete failure", while other critics noted he always looked comfortable. Facing a huge deficit in their second innings, England were bowled out for 188. Hutton scored 64, playing a similar defensive role to his first innings. In the Test series, Hutton scored 342 runs at an average of 42.75. In all first-class matches, he reached 2,654 runs at an average of 64.73.
Hutton toured South Africa in the winter of 1948–49 with the MCC under the captaincy of George Mann. Wisden described Hutton's tour as a succession of triumphs until he tired at the end: "Hutton's driving aroused the greatest admiration, but all his strokes were stamped with the hallmark of class." Before the Test matches began, Hutton scored three centuries and then contributed 83 as England won the first Test. The next three Tests were drawn. In the second match, Hutton and Washbrook set a new Test match record opening partnership. In easy batting conditions, they shared 359 runs on the first day before Hutton was out for 158 after almost five hours batting. In more favourable bowling conditions in the third Test, Hutton scored 41 and 87, followed by 123 in the fourth game which settled England's second innings at a dangerous time. England won the final game to take the series 2–0, and Hutton finished the Test series with 577 runs at an average of 64.11, while in all first-class matches he recorded 1,477 runs at an average of 73.85.
The most successful season of Hutton's career in terms of runs scored was 1949; he scored 3,429 runs at an average of 68.58, the fourth highest aggregate of runs in an English season. In both June and August he scored over 1,000 runs; his 1,294 runs in June was a record for a single month and only Herbert Sutcliffe had previously passed 1,000 runs for a calendar month twice in a season. He scored a double century against Lancashire, only the second for a Yorkshire batsman in the fixture. With Hutton available for more matches than in the previous few seasons, Yorkshire shared the County Championship with Middlesex, their last success until 1959. In the four Test matches against the touring New Zealanders, all of which were drawn, Hutton scored 469 runs at an average of 78.16. He scored 101 in the first Test, and fifties in the second and third matches, before ending the series with an innings of 206 in the fourth Test, in which the second hundred runs took only 85 minutes.
Hutton scored 2,049 runs at an average of 56.91 in the 1950 season. Batting effectively on a succession of early season rain-affected wickets, Hutton frequently top-scored for Yorkshire. Hutton's benefit match against Middlesex was affected by rain, but other events, collections and insurance for loss of play gave Hutton £9,713, a record at that point for a Yorkshire cricketer. Two-thirds of the amount was invested on Hutton's behalf by the Yorkshire committee, following their usual practice; Hutton resented this paternalism from the committee, particularly as he did not receive the full amount until 1972. Hutton played in three of the four Tests against West Indies. In the first Test, hampered by a finger injury, he scored 39 and 45 as England recorded their only victory of the series. The West Indies won the second Test, their first Test victory in England, and won the final two Tests to take the series 3–1; Hutton missed the third Test with lumbago but in the fourth Test scored 202 not out, carrying his bat through England's first innings. The West Indian spinners Sonny Ramadhin and Alf Valentine caused difficulties for all the batsmen except Hutton, who always appeared comfortable. Wisden praised his effort as unforgettable.
Hutton was chosen to go on the MCC tour of Australia in 1950–51, under the captaincy of the amateur Freddie Brown. The latter was an unexpected choice as captain, after a struggle to find a suitable amateur for the role. As a compromise aimed at critics who favoured the appointment of a professional captain, the professional Denis Compton was made vice-captain, but Brown came to rely more on Hutton than on Compton for advice. The tour selectors, in an attempt to strengthen the batting line-up, asked Hutton to bat in the middle order rather than his usual position as opener. He batted well in the early games but the team struggled. In the first Test, England dismissed Australia for 228 before rain made the pitch difficult for batting. In reply, England collapsed to 68 for seven before Brown declared to make Australia bat again while the pitch was still treacherous. Australia in turn struggled to 32 for seven, before declaring to leave England needing 193 to win. By the end of the third day's play, victory seemed unlikely as England were 30 for six. Next morning on a slightly easier pitch, Hutton scored 62 not out, an innings which was widely acclaimed in the press. Wisden observed that he had "given yet another exhibition of his wonderful batsmanship on tricky turf ... Hutton thrashed the fast bowlers majestically and played the turning or lifting ball with the ease of a master craftsman." However, the team were bowled out for 122 and Australia won by 70 runs.
Hutton remained in the middle order for the second Test, which England lost by 28 runs, but resumed his role as opener for the rest of the tour and scored a century in the following state game. Hutton scored 62 in the third Test, but the Australian spinner Jack Iverson, who caused the touring batsmen huge problems all series, bowled Australia to victory. Hutton's form continued in the fourth Test as he carried his bat for the second time in six months. Wisden observed: "Against Hutton the bowling looked almost mediocre, but most of the other batsmen made it appear lethal." He scored 156 not out and added 45 more runs in the second innings, but Australian won by 274 runs. With the series lost, England won the final game, their first victory over Australia since the war and Australia's first defeat in 26 matches; Hutton contributed scores of 79 and 60 not out and struck the winning run. Hutton scored 553 Test runs at an average of 88.83, and in all first-class matches accumulated 1,199 runs with five centuries and an average of 70.52. In contrast to his previous Australian tour, Hutton played the short ball comfortably. Reviewing the tour, Wisden stated, "With Hutton, figures did not lie. He stood head and shoulders above every other batsman and, taking all factors into consideration, worthily earned the description of the finest present-day batsman in the world."
Hutton scored 2,145 runs in 1951 with nine centuries, including his 100th in first-class cricket. The South Africans toured England, losing the Test series 3–1. After Hutton scored fifty in the first Test, which was won by South Africa, his 100th century almost came during the third Test, when he scored an unbeaten 98 in the second innings to take England to victory. But the innings provoked controversy when Hutton's teammates seemed to decline easy runs to allow Hutton the opportunity to reach his hundred before the end of the match, thereby jeopardising England's chances of victory in unsettled weather. The 100th century came a week later, against Surrey, when Hutton became the thirteenth player to achieve the landmark. He followed this immediately with 194 not out against Nottinghamshire and 100, in the drawn fourth Test at Headlingley. In the final Test, which England won to take the series, Hutton became the first man in Tests, and only the fourth in all first-class cricket, to be given out obstructing the field: he edged a ball in the air and legitimately knocked it away from his wickets with his bat; in doing so, he prevented a catch being taken and was given out. This remains the only such instance in Tests. Hutton ended the Test series with 378 runs at an average of 54.00. Late in the season, he scored a century against Gloucestershire to become the second Yorkshire player after Sutcliffe to complete centuries against the other 16 first-class counties.
Hutton married Dorothy Mary Dennis, the sister of former Yorkshire cricketer Frank Dennis, on 16 September 1939 at Wykeham near Scarborough; they met at an end-of-season dance which Dorothy had attended with her brother. They had two sons: Richard, who later played cricket for Yorkshire and England, in 1942, and John in 1947.
During and after the war, Hutton worked for a paper manufacturer, but writing and journalism provided a more permanent career. Hutton worked with Thomas Moult, a journalist and writer, to produce a book of memoirs, Cricket is My Life in 1949, and he wrote for the News of the World while still playing. Following his cricketing retirement, Hutton worked in broadcasting until 1961, and after 1955, he wrote for the London Evening News until 1963. A second book, Just my story, followed in 1956 in collaboration with journalist, R. J. Hayter. In 1958–59, Hutton travelled to Australia to cover the MCC tour as correspondent for the Evening News, again assisted by a professional journalist, while between 1963 and 1986, he wrote for The Observer. He wrote a third book, Thirty Years in Cricket, in 1984. Hutton's increasing commitments in the south of England meant he moved to North London in 1959. In 1960, Hutton was invited to join the engineering firm of J. H. Fenner, mainly working in a public relations capacity. Later, he moved into marketing and overseas promotion of products, became a director of the firm in 1973, and retired in 1984.
Although he disliked committees, Hutton served as an England Test selector in 1975 and 1976, but business commitments limited his availability so he resigned in 1977. Hutton became involved with Surrey cricket in later years but maintained links with Yorkshire, and became president of Yorkshire county cricket in January 1990. In his final years, Hutton suffered from ill health and became increasingly frail. In September 1990, he suffered a ruptured aorta shortly after watching a cricket match at the Oval. After an unsuccessful operation, he died on 6 September.