Search

THE QUESTION: Who is the greatest polo player you ever saw?

May 04, 1959
May 04, 1959

Table of Contents
May 4, 1959

Workman's Track
Coming Events
High Focus, High Hopes
Spectacle
  • Palm Springs has erupted into a congress of golf courses to inspire one of the nation's gaudiest real estate booms in the no-longer-lone prairie

Events & Discoveries
Food
Baseball
Golf
Boxing
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over
Pat On The Back

THE QUESTION: Who is the greatest polo player you ever saw?

CECIL SMITH
Ten-goal player
San Antonio, Texas
Tommy Hitchcock Jr., a great hitter who had everything. He must have learned to ride before he could walk, because he and his pony were one. Most great players are individualists, but Tommy was strictly a team player. He was so great that he enjoyed playing only with and against the best in the game.

This is an article from the May 4, 1959 issue

WM. S. FANSHAWE WHITE
New York City
My grandfather, Foxhall Keene. He was the greatest all-round athlete of his time and he could play any game in which a ball was used better than anyone else. Had he played football, he'd have been greater than Jim Thorpe. Tommy Hitchcock Jr. would have been the first to agree with me.

ROBERT C. ALEXANDER
Owner, Alexander
Ranch
San Antonio, Texas
Cecil Smith. Before he came off a Texas ranch, where he trained his own ponies, polo was played by aristocratic gentlemen. Cecil was such a great player that he cracked the ranks and destroyed the tradition. We have a Texas Hall of Fame for all sports and Cecil is in it.

STEWART IGLEHART
Alltime 10-goal player
Delray Beach, Fla.
I played with Rao Raja Hanut Singh and the Maharaja of Jaipur, both great 10-goal players. Had they developed an appetite for the rugged type of American polo, they'd have been alltime greats. However, no player I've seen compares with Tommy Hitchcock Jr. or Cecil Smith, whom I rank on a par.

RUSSELL FIRESTONE JR.
Two-goal player
Dallas
Bob Skene of California is one of the greatest. There are some days when he can't do anything wrong, but the best active player I've watched and played with is Cecil Smith. Stewart Iglehart, now inactive, was fully as good as Cecil or any other player I ever saw.

LADDIE SANFORD
Former polo star
Palm Beach, Fla.
The oldtimers insist that Foxhall Keene was the greatest of them all, but he was before my time. Of all those I've seen play, Tommy Hitchcock Jr. was the greatest. He was a terrific competitor, had tremendous length of drive, perfect timing, and he was just plain aggressive.

BILL MAYER
Eight-goal player
Chicago and Delray
Beach, Fla.
Stewart Iglehart. Not only could he do things better than anyone else; he had an uncanny sense of anticipation and was always at the right place at the right time. He also could hit the ball as far and accurately as anyone in the game. Beginning in 1927, Stew played in about 20 championships.

ROBERT E. STRAWBRIDGE JR.
Honorary chairman, U.S. Polo Assn.
Old Westbury, N.Y.
Devereux Milburn, a 10-goal player and the greatest back of all time, had the most influence on the development of polo from 1909 to 1927. This resulted in an entirely different game. There was no greater team than the Big Four—Milburn, Harry P. Whitney and the two Waterburys, Lawrence and Monty.

ALBERT J. MIDDLEBROOK JR.
President, stock brokerage firm
Old Saybrook, Conn.
I used to think that the greatest of all polo players was Tommy Hitchcock Jr., but after seeing Cecil Smith play at Boca Raton this past winter, I'm not so sure. Smith was head and shoulders over any player on the field. I think he's fully as good as Hitchcock. I would have a hard time choosing between them.

FRANK DE BLOIS
TV writer
Greenwich, Conn.
The late Tommy Hitchcock Jr., who was once a neighbor of mine and whom I much admired as a boy. In addition to being a terrific competitor, he revolutionized the game of polo by inventing the full swing to get a lot more distance on the ball. He was to polo what Babe Ruth was to baseball.

ELEVEN PHOTOS