It was three-quarters of a century ago that Pasadena’s Jackie Robinson broke color barriers in Major League Baseball playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
However, Jackie, who was commonly known locally as Jack Robinson in his youth, found the Rose Bowl a familiar stadium and displayed football skills on par with those displayed in a Dodgers uniform. did.
That’s why a statue of Robinson was dedicated in 2017 just beyond the gates of the Rose Bowl. Robinson was called up for his 13th performance there. Muir played four games on his high school team, then known as Tech, and nine more as his junior star player in Pasadena. College. The “55” on his statue was the number he wore on his PJC.
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Robinson, who also played on the UCLA football field, was a true Renaissance man when it came to sports. In addition to later starring in UCLA football on his field, he has distinguished himself in basketball, track and field, and tennis.
Muir’s football games in the Rose Bowl helped launch his legend. Muir played three games in a row at the stadium in October 1936, winning all three without losing a single goal.
In a 32-0 victory over Glendale Hoover on October 10, Robinson threw a touchdown, a 50-yard kickoff return, a 40-year pass completion, and made several punts in front of a 5,000-man Rose Bowl crowd. I was.
On October 16, Robinson scored in a 21-0 victory over Covina. His running, passing and kicking overwhelmed the Colts. In that game, he had his 65-yard run nullified by clipping his penalty. A week later, Robinson scored his first touchdown to lead Muir’s 13–0 victory over Fullerton High in the Rose Bowl.
His stardom picked up momentum in the 1938 season, his second with the Pasadena JC. The team then called the Bulldogs won all of his 11 games that season.
The biggest might have been the 39-26 victory over San Bernardino in the Rose Bowl on October 21st. Robinson scored his three touchdowns and was involved in his other three touchdowns. This was almost his first San Bernardino loss in two years.
A crowd of 42,000 attended the Rose Bowl on October 28, when Pasadena defeated Compton JC 20-7. United Press said it was the largest crowd ever to see a junior college football game on the West Coast at the time.
That crowd focused on Robinson, who rushed for touchdowns of 15 and 45 yards. He also scored third in a few plays after returning an intercepted pass 59 yards.
In Robinson’s final Rose Bowl appearance, the Bulldogs defeated Caltech, 39-6, on a 14-game winning streak, dating back to the previous year.
Details of one of Robinson’s two touchdowns are a bit vague. According to various sources, Robinson recorded the longest kickoff his return of any game played in his Bowl – 104 yards. However, some sources say he faked a punt and raced the distance for a touchdown. The news stories about what really happened are a bit sketchy.
In any case, Jackie Robinon’s achievements at the Rose Bowl were the first steps in creating a legend for Pasadena’s beloved athlete.