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Question

Alex, You are cited as a source in an article on Nacho Figueras in Town & Country magazine. We ID you as a polo historian and journalist. Here are my questions. If you prefer to answer via phone, please call me at .
Linda Crowley

1. Can we ID you as a polo historian and journalist?

 2. Is it accurate to say that about 90 of the world's top 100 polo
players are Argentinian?

 3. Does Nachos Figueras rank fairly low in that list of the top 100?

 4. Were the first polo matches in the U.S. played in New York, indoors
at Dickels Riding Academy in 1886?

 5. Were the famous Polo Grounds (once home to the New York Giants
baseball team), a place where polo matches were held?

 6. Did Walt Disney, Spencer Tracy and Daryl Zanuck all play polo?

 7. Do you think it's accurate to say that at the beginning of the 20th
century more people went to polo games than to football or baseball
games?

8. Did the NYTimes once have a dedicated polo writer?  

Answer
All Experts

1.   Yes.
2.   Yes.
3.   Although Nacho Figueras has done more to promote the game of polo than any other active player in the game today, he is currently ranked 97 in the top 100 players in the world (according to the Casablanca World Polo Tour rankings).
4.   The first polo was played indoors, at Dickel’s Riding Academy (the corner of 5th Avenue and 39th Street) in 1876 (NOT 1886).  It was not an official game.  That didn’t occur until May 13, 1876 at the Jerome Park Racetrack in Westchester County, New York.
5.   The original Polo Grounds (there were four properties which carried the name over the course of nearly 90 years) was built in 1876 for polo.  Of the four stadiums that carried this name over the years, the original structure was the only one actually used for polo.  It was bounded on the south and north by 110th and 112th Streets, and on the east and west by Fifth and Sixth Avenues, just uptown of Central Park.  The New York Giants played there from 1880 (when they shared it with the New York Metropolitans) until 1889, when the first Polo Grounds ceased to exist.
6.   Walt Disney,  his brother Roy Disney, Spencer Tracey, Darryl F. Zanuck, Hal Roach, Will Rogers, Johnny Mack Brown, Guinn “Big Boy” Williams and a host of other Hollywood actors, directors and producers played polo in the 1930s.  During the 1980s a new Hollywood crowd that included William Devane, Doug Sheehan, Alex Cord, Stephanie Powers, Pamela Sue Martin, Jamison Parker, Mickey Dolenz (rock musician) and others participated in weekly arena polo celebrity tournaments at the LA Equestrian Center in Burbank, California.
7.   No.  Although the sport of polo was popular at the beginning of the 20th century, there were relatively few polo clubs.  Occasional international matches would attract tens of thousands of spectators, but matches didn’t attract large crowds on a regular basis as did football (college and professional baseball.
8.   The New York Times, like other papers in the early 20th century, covered polo regularly, but there was no dedicated polo writer of note at that time.

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Alex Webbe

Expertise

General history questions about the game of polo. Some specific questions relating to polo in Argentina, the United States, Europe, India and China. I do, however, have a deep international network through which I feel comfortable I can field most reasonable questions.

Experience

I have been covering polo for over thirty years and am a student in the history of the game. I have an ongoing scholar relationship with the Museum of Polo in Lake Worth Florida and am working on two different books on polo at this writing.

Publications
Polo Magazine. The Chicagoan, Palm Beach Daily News, Polo en la Argentina, Polo Times, Polo Post, Polo Down Under, Pololine, PoloZone, Polo International, PQinternational, etc.

Education/Credentials
University of Denver, 1964-1966 (Vietnam) 1968-1970.

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