America's Secretary of Defense
1909 Devereux Milburn played in his first international match
with Harry Payne Whitney, Lawrence Waterbury and Monte Waterbury
on what would come to be known as the Big Four.
They beat the British for the first
time in 1909, returning the Westchester Cup to America for
the first time in history. This foursome would go on to defend
the cup in 1911 and 1913, never losing a game. More importantly,
the interaction between Whitney and Milburn on the field introduced
a revolutionary style of play, which made the game more exciting
for players and spectators alike.
No longer would the back play deep
in his own end of the field. Milburn and Whitney interchanged
the back and No. 3 positions with regularity as the back often
carried the ball through on attack as the No. 3 covered the
back position. Considered the normal practice today, the concept
changed the game. The practice was carried over to the other
players and positions, freeing up the game and allowing for
a flow that allowed players to be consistently moving and
interchanging positions throughout the game.
His introduction of the nearside
backhand shot was only surpassed by his ability to drive the
ball deeply into the opponent’s end of the field in
a single shot from either side of his horse, and his knowledge
of the game was unsurpassed.
When he retired from international
competition in 1927, following his seventh appearance in Westchester
Cup competition and another successful defense of the cup,
his record in international play stood at 12-2.