Sports

Memories by the score — Abe Bailey

Robbie Robinson

Sunday, August 05, 2018

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Born in the parish of Clarendon, Abe Bailey did his early schooling at May Pen Government School and Brompton Preparatory Academy, before moving up to St Jago High School.

At St Jago he excelled at cricket, football, and athletics.

He represented his school at Manning Cup football and made the All Schools team and captained the Sunlight Cup cricket team. He also ran at Boys' Champs in the 100 and 200 metres.

But Abe Anselhart Bailey was a focused young man, and after leaving high school he decided to pursue a career in the army, so he went off to the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst in the United Kingdom. While he was there, he represented the Academy at cricket, football and track and field and was the Academy champion at 100 and 200 metres.

On his return to Jamaica as a second Lieutenant in the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), Bailey opened his account in the local Senior Cup competition with a credible 50. He went on to captain the team for a few years, making four centuries and was rated as a more than capable middle- order batsman.

Bailey lists these centuries as his proudest moments on a sports field. At the same time he recalls a second ball “duck” against Railways in his first season as his most embarrassing moment even more embarrassing than losing his wicket to the little recognised bowler Easton McMorris.

He had a passion for higher learning and while performing duties for the security forces where he reached the rank of Major, Bailey served the game of cricket as assistant secretary of the Jamaica Cricket Board of Control and acted as local manager for visiting teams from Australia and New Zealand, as well as manager for the touring Jamaica Youth Cricket team.

During this time Major Bailey attended the Canadian Army Staff College, commanded the JDF Training depot at Newcastle and served as Equerry to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on her Royal visit to Jamaica in 1975. He was later awarded the Order of Distinction by the Michael Manley government soon thereafter.

Like many of his officer counterparts in the army, Abe turned out to be a respected squash player and although he never made the national team, he boasted a few scalps of officers who were national players.

But the pull of academia took over and Bailey attended the University of the West Indies, Mona where he earned a certificate in Management Studies. He then left the army life for “Civvy Street when he attended Morgan State University where he acquired a college degree. After graduating from Morgan State he attended night school at the University of Maryland Law School. In the day he worked full time as a mortgage banker.

He graduated from Law School in 1984 and was admitted to the Florida Bar the following year.

In case you think that this marked the end of Major Abe Bailey's sporting life, wrong again. Every weekend the major can be seen on the golf courses of Florida. He has become quite a competent golfer. Not exactly a Tiger Woods, but competent. He also works regularly as a marshal on the Annual PGA Tour in Doral, Florida.

A devout Christian and family man, Bailey is married to West Indian trained attorney, Marilyn Simpson Bailey and is the proud father of four children — Mark, a senior systems engineer; Lilieth and Camille Bailey, both attorneys, and Abe Andrew Bailey, who is scheduled to graduate from Law School this year.

Major Bailey is a devout Anglican and currently serves as member of the Ecclesiastical Trial Court for the Archdiocese of South Florida and Chancellor of the holy Sacrament Episcopal Church where he has been a member for over two decades.

Editor's note: Robbie Robinson is an attorney-at-law, public speaker, sports journalist, sports enthusiast and singer.

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