Jackie Robinson, Big Man on Any Campus

Posted by Paul Rawlins on May 9, 2013 in Site

How good was Jackie Robinson?

So good that in high school, he even got written up in opponents’ yearbooks—after beating them:

South Pasedena High School, Copa De Oro, 1937


At Pasadena Junior College, he wowed folks in track,

Pasadena Junior College, Campus, 1938



Pasadena Junior College, Campus, 1938



Pasadena Junior College, Campus, 1939


and football,

Pasadena Junior College, Campus, 1939


the sport that led to his being dubbed the greatest individual athlete on the greatest team in PJC history in 1938.


Pasadena Junior College, Campus, 1939


He even excelled at “outstanding service to the school” by those “whose scholastic and citizenship record is worthy of recognition” and was tapped for membership in the Mast and Dagger society during his second year, “the highest honor attainable at PJC.”

Pasadena Junior College, Campus, 1939


He was so good, that during his first year at UCLA, he appeared in captions for photos he wasn’t even in, like this one of a group of sophomore class officers downing their drink “with all the speed of a Jackie Robinson 60-yard dash.”

UCLA, Bruin Life, 1940


Jackie started making his name on the gridiron for the Bruins in 1939.

UCLA, Bruin Life, 1940


The Bruins had a tough season the next year, but Robinson was one of the bright spots, whether they were losing to Stanford:

UCLA, Bruin Life, 1941


Or during their one win against Washington State:

UCLA, Bruin Life, 1941


It was news (good and bad) when Jackie chose baseball over track.

UCLA, Bruin Life, 1941


UCLA, Bruin Life, 1941


He even made it into rival USC’s yearbook for his prowess on the hardwood.

USC, El Rodeo, 1941


And he made news again when he left UCLA early.

UCLA, Bruin Life, 1941


How good was Jackie Robinson? He seemed to fill any stage he took. Long before he ever stepped onto the diamond to break Major League Baseball’s color barrier, he had already proved that one campus, one floor, or one field would not be large enough to contain Jackie Robinson.

You can look for your big men, and women, on campus in our U.S. School Yearbooks collection.

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