Born in the pavilion at Edgbaston Cricket Ground where his father, John, was head groundsman, Bates would go on play 200 first-class matches at the ground scoring over 8,000 runs. In total Bates represented his county 441 times between 1913 and 1935, he also made two appearances for 'The Rest' against England in 1927 and once for the Players against Gentlemen in 1925.
Bates scored a total of 19,380 first-class runs at an average of 27.84, passing 1,000 runs in a season 12 times and three times passing 1,500. He scored 21 centuries, two coming against Kent at Coventry in 1927, his highest was a score of 211 against Gloucestershire in 1932.
After retiring as a player in 1935 he fulfilled the role of coach and head groundsman at Christ's Hospital until 1963. He died at Coldwaltham following a long and debilitating illness in which both his legs were amputated.
- Wisden 1972 - Obituaries, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, Retrieved on 8 November 2008
- First-class Batting and Fielding record on each ground, CricketArchive, Retrieved on 8 November 2008
- First-class Batting and Fielding record for each team, CricketArchive, Retrieved on 8 November 2008
- First-class Batting for each season, CricketArchive, Retrieved on 8 November 2008
- Gloucestershire v Warwickshire, County Championship 1932, CricketArchive, Retrieved on 8 November 2008