Jackie Robinson statue at Rose Bowl honors his lesser-known college football legacy

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A statue of sports civil rights pioneer Jackie Robinson was unveiled at the Rose Bowl wearing a football uniform in honor of his college athletics career. (KABC)

A statue of sports civil rights pioneer Jackie Robinson was unveiled at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday - and he's wearing a football uniform.

Before the Dodgers legend became the first player to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball, he was a multi-sport star at Pasadena City College and UCLA in the 1930s,

He played at the Rose Bowl in 1937 and '38. He played quarterback and safety, and in the 1938 Rose Bowl ran a kickoff back 104 yards for a touchdown, which statue sponsors say remains the longest in the stadium's history.

The statue was donated by the family of Thomas Tull, who produced the 2013 biopic of Robinson "42." Tull is a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and founder of Burbank-based Legendary Entertainment. His wife, Alba Tull, sits on the board of the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

Robinson's widow Rachel and his daughter Sharon attended the ceremony, as did students representing the local schools that Robinson attended.

Retired Dodgers announcer Vin Scully celebrated his own 90th birthday by helping to host the ceremony and talk about meeting Robinson for the first time. Scully was just starting his career as a 22-year-old broadcaster then and the team was still in Brooklyn.

"One of the nicest men at the very beginning of my spring training for the first time was Jackie Robinson," Scully said. "Jackie was a star by then and yet I felt after the first time I met him that I could go up and talk to him at any time of night or day. He would be willing to listen and to explain whatever I had on my mind. You don't forget that."

Related Topics:
sportsLos Angeles Dodgerscivil rightsstatuecollege footballUCLAPasadenaLos Angeles County
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