Mike Azzaro inducted in Polo Hall of Fame
Polo Hall of Fame inductee Mike Azzaro (4) makes a play on the ball during the 2012 U.S. Open. Azzaro led his team to the championship, and was later named the MVP. / DAVID LOMINSKA/Polographics.com
LAKE WORTH, Fla. -- When the 24th annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Awards Dinner was held at the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame in Florida Feb. 15, Michael Azzaro, a world-renowned polo player with local ties, was among those honored. After a spectacular career in professional polo, Azzaro was one of two players inducted into the Hall of Fame for 2013.
Azzaro spent his early childhood in Illinois where he began riding horses as a toddler, and was on the polo fields by the age of 5. The family moved to the San Antonio area in the ’80s when Azzaro was just 15, and he began a professional career shortly thereafter.
In 1986, Azzaro won his first of six U.S. Open Championships while playing for Retama, and was named as polo’s “Young Player of the Year” in 1987. From there he traveled the world, competing for a host of different teams in different countries, and added another five U.S. Open Championships to his resume. His most recent U.S. Open Championship came last year with Zacara, and the veteran’s play in the championship earned him the MVP trophy.
In addition to his Open Championships, Azzaro also won three Silver Cups, the Butler Handicap, the Iglehart Cup, and the 30-Goal World Cup. He played in three Argentine Opens, appearing in the finals in 1996 and 2000; he was a member of the 1997 Westchester Cup team; and he was captain of the U.S. team in the 2009 Camacho Cup. He attained a 10-goal rating by the time he was 27 years old, and held polo’s top ranking for 14 years.
On Feb. 15, Azzaro was added to a list that includes just 77 additional names, and he will forever be remembered as one of the greatest to ever play the game.
Azzaro’s father, Vince, a resident of Sutherland Springs and a second-generation polo player himself, introduced his son on the night of his induction.
“I am Mike’s father, Vince, and the proudest person here tonight,” he said before the crowd who attended the black-tie event. “I congratulate Mike for this honor of his induction. I know if his mother were here, she would be just as proud as I am.”
Azzaro currently resides in Florida with his wife and three children, but still owns a ranch in Wilson County near his father. He is a graduate of Judson High School in Converse, and retains close ties to San Antonio and the Wilson County area.