Mark Slattery
Mark Slattery with his book, Cricket’s Craziest Teams

An American cartoonist has taken center stage in a book about the most English of sports – cricket. Real USA players also feature in the unusual book.

Jeff Hobbs, from Louisville, Kentucky, has provided six hilarious cartoons for Cricket’s Craziest Teams, a witty and off-beat book available from Amazon, which makes proper teams composed of real players, but with a twist.

Instead of being selected on merit, the players are assembled according to the meanings of their names.

Jeff, who is married to wife Lisa with two children, Maci and Lucas, says: “The book has fifty teams assembled according to their name meanings, so there are teams based around body parts for example, on fishing, on manliness, trees, dogs, and restaurant terms – quite an array!”

It gave Jeff – who is a regular contributor to the Funny Times magazine – a real challenge.

“I’d heard of cricket but I’d never seen it before, so I had to look very carefully at how to draw a cricketer.

Jeff hobbs
American cartoonist, Jeff Hobbs.

“I hadn’t realized that there are cricket clubs both here in Louisville and in Kentucky, and that we even had a national team! I ended up becoming interested by it, although what an unusual game it is for an American who works his schedule around the kids’ baseball season schedules!

“The author, Mark Slattery, just liked my style of drawing so much that he was keen to have me on board and worked with me on the ideas, and kept telling me how good I was, so I must have done something right!”

Jeff’s studied graphic arts at Jefferson Community and Technical College. His freelance work has appeared in Alta Online, the Weekly Humorist, and in the book, How Many Surrealists does it take to screw in a light bulb? By John Howard Towsen.

He worked with the author by email. Slattery’s unique book tells stories about players past and present and makes jokes based on their name associations.

Several American players feature in it include former USA cricket captain Richard Staple, who appears in and captains an Office XI, and Slattery’s text says, “… He’s our ruler. You might say that he holds things together.” The book is made up of such comments alongside genuine story-telling. Another player who appears is Steve Massiah – you can probably guess what kind of team he appears in.

Jeff’s cartoons appear in the teams based on baking, gardening, maths and numbers, trees, the letter Z, and a team made up of Smiths, one of England’s most common names.

The author, said Jeff’s ‘Smiths’ team is his personal favorite cartoon.

“Jeff’s style is so simple but clever. He says so much with a simple twitch of a pen. His Smiths’ cartoon just captures that economy of style and wit so succinctly.

“If sales are OK, I hope there will be a chance for another transatlantic partnership with Jeff. I love his talent. He should be cartooning for a national US paper.”