There has been some interesting discussion about who is the best polo player of all time. Personally, I would have thought that Adolfo Cambiaso would be the obvious choice of almost everybody. But it is not so. Other very knowledgeable people have their own ideas of who is the best. Two other names have come up already, Juan Carlos Harriott of Argentina, who won no fewer than 20 Argentine Opens!, and Cecil Smith of Texas who was a 10-goal player for 25 years!. Personally I like all three of these great players, although in different ways. Perhaps we can learn something from each of them. But there is one who is my personal all-time favorite, and I will talk about him first. Please feel free to post your own personal favorites. Maybe we all can learn something.
Thanks again, Gustavo. It's really fascinating to hear what Juan Carlos had to say. From my standpoint, the more improvement the better. It would be great if in 25 years we have a lot of little Cambiasos running around. Who knows how good the best player of 2037 will be!
I haven't read every post, and I bow to those with far more experience/knowlege than me, but.
Was Bautisto Heguy not the player who created the stye of polo for which Cambiaso has become so deservingly famous... if so, as such a pivotal player, with regards the evolution of the game, does he not at least deserve a mention?
Glad to see you weighing in here, Bruce. Your prior absence has been most conspicuous. Obviously Bautista Heguy deserves mention, and you have raised a very interesting question. But exactly what "style" are you referring to? The dribbling and highly controlled short game as opposed to the long ball? Please elaborate.
Hi GB - yes, but again, I may be wrong, and I am certainly biased :)
Bauti controlled the ball, moved it around at will, made it sing and dance. I forget who it was, but one of his rivals said that when Bauti was on Birra, it was better to put 3 of your team on marking him and leave the other players...
Indios Chapaleufu also played with the power-house (Bauti) up front - although I have no idea who else has used that formula - the way Cambiaso plays for La Dolfina.
Bruce, it would be great to see some video and some written commentary on Bauti's revolutionary effect on the game. As a long-time Cecil Smith fan (after all, he was a Texan), I still love to see the long scoring shot from midfield, and that does happen occasionally. But it's clearly not the modern trend. If Bautista Heguy is the undisputed inventor of the "controlled dribble" as the preferred way of moving the ball down the field and scoring, that really would tend to move him into the thick of our discussion of the greatest of the polo greats of all time. I've really never heard that theory before. Please enlighten us.
As I said, GB, I may be wrong, and it's a personal opinion - but if it wasn't Bauti, who was it?
anyway... this video gives you a good idea of the style of polo being played, year on year...
and here's Bauti - when I. C. were still sponsored by marlboro...
and in the US in 1991...
At the end of the day it proves nothing, but it was fun finding them.
Thanks, Bruce. Great stuff.
Does anyone else have an opinion whether Bautista Heguy was a pivotal figure in the modern evolution of polo?
Definitely Memo and Carlos Gracida.Do you support me?
Of course. I've seen Memo play and he's fantastic. Probably the best man with a horse I've ever seen. With a mallet, that's different. Of course he is very, very good. But I think I have seen better hitters. I'm still wondering about Bruce's point about Bautista Heguy changing the basic approach of moving the ball down the field and revolutionizing the game. Does anyone else agree with that idea?
Between the long ball polo style of The Great Juan Carlitos Harriot and the dribbling and highly controlled short game of Polo Phenomenon Adolfito Cambiaso, a lot of water crossed under the bridge.
In 70´s Eduardo El Gordo Moore, an argentine 8 hcp all world around polo pro determined that it was not appropriate to release the ball quickly and openly play because of the low level of some of his team mates, so he started to control the ball, dribble several yards and near the line let the ball to his patron. The Ball Control Era began.
His best pupil was Gonzalo Pieres Sr. an outstanding 10 goaler of the 80´s. Dad of Gonzalito, Facundo and Nico and discoverer of Cambiaso, Aguerre, Castagnola. Gonzalo also invited Memo and Carlos Gracida to win several AOs. Well, Gonzalo added to the ball control play some particular tactics as to play "redondilla" -play the ball in circles instead of hitting backhander, recovering one more player in the same move - and to play from side to side of the field - or in zigzag - controling ball, speed and space of the game.
Later started Bautista Heguy´s time. 10 hcp, incredible horseman, charismatic, talented. he could play anywhere on the field. at any speed, with the ball paste on the cigar. total control, high speed. scorer of his team (with his 3 older brothers) perhaps Indios Chapaleufu 1 was the best polo team to watch. Inga, Pigmea, Birra, Rachel, his better horses.
After Bauti came Adolfito, and now is his time. much more control than bauti, better winning mentality, different rider, different horse care and all that we know about adolfito.
So the change in polo style is a long ladder who started with juan carlitos, el gordo, gonzalo, bauti, adolfito and nobody knows how it will continue to.
good polo for everybody