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.
Very good post, Luis. Very clear and well-stated. It's fascinating to me that there is less emphasis on playing positions today. At the top levels of the sport, where everyone is a 10, I suppose that anyone can do everything. So I can see the greater need today for a coach who remains detached and objective and coordinates the overall action with a cool head. Does Dolfina have a coach?
actually la dolfina doesn't but that is where Cambiaso is better than the other 10 goals, he knows exactly what is going on and what is going to happen from inside of the field and he can take the best from every player, Like I said before, he made lolo and lucas go up to 10. There is a video of him making lolo get angry, super mad at him, even abuse to each other in the palenque, and after lolo got on the horse again, Cambiaso told to the camera: now you will see how good he plays, hahhaah, it's kind of funny, but he does that normally
Hahaha No wonder people hate him. He treats people like his horses!
What's interesting to me is that there is a method to his madness. Let's see if he can win with legitimate 10-goalers on his team. He may not be able to "abuse" them in quite the same way. ;-)
P.S. I like Lolo, and he seems like the kind of guy who understands what Cambiaso is trying to do. But he's probably not a true 10-goaler. And he probably doesn't care. He does raise great horses though, no?
If Adolfo Cambiaso, at this stage of his career, manages against very long odds to win 20 Argentine Open Championships, despite the fact that even in the best circumstances he will be nearing 50 when he does it, does anyone doubt that he will then be considered the best polo player of all time?
I think its best to define and agree on what criteria constitutes "the best player". without this kind of approach, we wll all be offering opinions. If this is done then we stand a better chance of recognizing all those who have contributed immensely to the game of polo in their own way and in their own time.
That's an interesting idea, but I can see how that approach would quickly bog down in a discussion of definitions and criteria rather than a discussion of individual polo players. Most people would probably say that the best player of any particular era is the one who: (1) had the best individual skills of his day, (2) won the most prestigious championships of his day, and (3) contributed the most to the advancement of the sport. However, unlike other sports where the basic equipment more or less remains the same, the horse is the biggest variable in polo, and since horses are always getting better and better, I think it would be very difficult to say that the best polo player of any past era was better than the best polo player of the current era. Even Cambiaso would probably say that he is nothing without his horses.
The best polo player of all the time is Mr Juan Carlos Harriott, inside and outside the field. And the first aand only polo player winner of the Fair Play Award in 1986. JCG
Thanks for your perspective. JCH must have been extraordinary. People who knew him and saw him play can't say enough about him. We've seen quite a few excellent photographs. And I think there is a video of him being interviewed on YouTube. Is there any film of him actually playing?
Here's the interview:
I think what is interesting is that every one concentrates on the 10 goal ,high goal players. These players for the most part are playing the best horses that money can buy. Always playing high goal polo which is a different game than lower goal polo.
What about the pros who did not (or can't) spend $100,000 and up on a horse? I have seen some great players over the years who played great lower goal polo. Pros like Jimmy Bachman. The USPA had to create the 3/4 rule mainly because of him. He dominated 8-12 goal polo in FL. Paul Rizzo , a natural lefty at 5 goals. One of the best horsemen / riders I've ever seen. He got the most out of some really bad horses over the years. For older 10 goal american players . what about Tommy Wayman the big man. Players like Dell Carrol,Billy Linfoot and Bart Evans. Let's not forget the Women from back in the day who paved the way for todays womens players? Maret Cresswell , Sue Sally Hale and Vickie Armour come to mind.