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Jackie Robinson's life celebrated in Pasadena, where baseball icon grew up

April 13, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The life of baseball legend Jackie Robinson was celebrated in the city of Pasadena, where the man who broke the game's color barrier grew up.

At the ArcLight Cinemas in Pasadena, pictures of Robinson during his playing days at Pasadena City College in the late 1930s were on display Friday.

Robinson, the first African American to play in the major leagues some six decades ago, was a star athlete in multiple sports at the college. His brother Mack earned a silver medal in the 1936 Olympics in the 200 meter dash.

Jackie Robinson broke numerous records as a track athlete, basketball player and of course as a baseball player at Pasadena City College. The college even named its sports complex Jackie Robinson Stadium.

So, with the story of Robinson's legendary rise to Major League Baseball history taking center stage in his biopic, "42," officials at the college are overjoyed.

"Jackie Robinson, Mack Robinson, those two brothers started right here in Pasadena and both of them right here at Pasadena City College, and they went forward and changed the world. What today is about is PCC being so joyous," said Dr. Mark Rocha, the president of Pasadena City College.

After high school and junior college in Pasadena, Robinson went on to UCLA where he continued as a star athlete in multiple sports, a feat few athletes have ever accomplished at the college level.

"I mean growing up in Pasadena, knowing the Robinson's legacy and knowing Mack Robinson and the family, I was just astounded by this. This is a true inspiration and a tribute to Jackie's legacy," said Skip Robinson, the former athletic director at Pasadena City College.

Delano Robinson was married to Jackie Robinson's brother Mack. She says it was hard for the Robinson family when Jackie was a kid.

"Mrs. Robinson went through a lot of ups and downs when she came here to Pasadena with five children and it does make a difference when it's just one parent - not two. She was by herself," said Delano Robinson.

Jackie Robinson's widow Rachel says the story of her husband's rise to Major League Baseball history is nothing short of inspiring.

"It's a process of inspiring people to say that, yes it can be done. You can contribute. No matter where you are or who you are, you can make things better," she said.

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