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George Abbott

George "Mr. A" Abbott

One must go back to the great Long Island days of the '30s to the '50s to recall when "Mr. A", the great director/actor/playwright, George Abbott was one of the dominant figures in the game.

Showing the same single-minded purposefulness which made him a major figure in the theater, Abbott applied himself to croquet and developed into a feared and successful competitor.

It was easy for Mr. A to enter the ranks of Margaret Emerson, Herbert Bayard Swope, Alex Woollcott, Averell Harriman and the others who spent their weekends waging and wagering at the game. He has a charming house in Sands Point, shared originally with Neysa McMein and her husband Jack Baragwanath, also croquet players, as who wasn't in those days?

Abbott, straight as a ramrod, blonde, clear-eyed, always had the advantage of clean living on weekends, while others would arrive for competition a bit worse for wear from the previous night's excesses.

A valuable piece of equipment Mr. A brought to the game was a self-confidence combined strangely enough, with a lack of ego, which made him almost unique as a partner.

His game was adaptable to the smooth, tree-shaded lawn of Mrs. Emerson at Sands Point, or to his own rock strewn plot, behind his home. There guests would take to the battle after a good breakfast, called to it by a cowbell. If you were late, you played on an empty stomach.

George Abbott, now into his 90s, would be playing croquet with us today. However, some years ago he took up golf, so, single-purposed as ever, he gave up other sports, moved to South Florida and became an all-day golfer. He is also preparing another Broadway play. The Hall of Fame welcomes George Abbott — gentleman, craftsman and a great human being.

George "Mr. A" Abbott was inducted into the United States Croquet Hall of Fame in 1981.

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George Abbott in Wikipedia

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