In front of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, you’ll find a statue of baseball legend Jackie Robinson wearing a football uniform.
Jackie Robinson: A Pasadena Hometown Hero
Jackie Robinson is best known as a baseball player. He demolished the baseball industry’s color barrier when he was recruited by the Brooklyn Dodgers as a first baseman in 1947.
But the man was a gifted athlete, and during his high school and college years, played 13 games at the Rose Bowl — four when he attended John Muir High School and nine during his time attending Pasadena Junior College (today it’s Pasadena City College).
Jackie Robinson’s Pasadena Roots
Although he made his chops as a Brooklyn Dodger, Robinson’s roots in the Los Angeles area run deep. His family moved to Pasadena in 1920, and the young Robinson attended Cleveland Elementary, Washington Middle School, John Muir High School, and Pasadena Junior College. He went on to attend UCLA, where he played baseball, basketball, football, and track.
Jackie Robinson By the Numbers
Robinson is wore number 42 during his time on the Dodgers. Because of Robinson’s numerous baseball achievements, every team in Major League Baseball retired the number 42 in 1997. It’s even the title of his 2013 biopic, 42: The Jackie Robinson Story (starring the late Chadwick Boseman).
But the Jackie Robinson Statue at the Rose Bowl is depicted with a 55, the number he wore while playing football for Pasadena Junior College in 1938 (now Pasadena City College). In one notable game against Caltech, he scored a Rose Bowl record touchdown with a 104-yard kickoff return. That record, which still stands, is likely the inspiration for the statue’s stance.
The Jackie Robinson Statue at the Rose Bowl was sculpted by New Jersey-based artist Brian Hanlon, who also sculpted an bronze statue of sportscaster Keith Jackson (famous for his “Whoa, Nellie!” catchphrase), another statue on display at the Rose Bowl).
The statue, first unveiled on November 29, 2017, was a gift from the Tull Family Foundation. Thomas Tull of said Foundation served as a producer of 42, the aforementioned Jackie Robinson biopic.
Other Jackie Robinson Monuments (in Los Angeles)
Pasadena really wants you to know that Jackie Robinson, one of the greatest athletes of all time, lived in Pasadena for 24 years. Across the street from Pasadena City Hall there’s a giant sculpture of the heads of Jackie Robinson and his brother Mack Robinson, who won a silver medal in the 1936 Olympics.
There is also a statue of Jackie Robinson at Dodger Stadium that depicts him stealing home base — something he did regularyl. The bronze statue, which sits in the stadium’s left field reserve plaza, was unveiled on April 15, 2017, the 70th anniversary of his debut in professional baseball. Incidentally, this will be the 75th anniversary of that milestone.
Robinson is also honored with a plaque on the Avenue of the Athletes in Echo Park. It can be found on the north side of Sunset at Echo Park Ave, in front of Walgreen’s.
Jackie Robinson Statue at the Rose Bowl
- North Arroyo Drive (at the Rose Bowl)
- GPS Coordinates: 34.158745, -118.167327 [ Google Maps ]
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