UCLA Picks Juiciest Plum

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Former Pasadena Junior College superstar JACKIE ROBINSON shows off his new football jersey upon enrolling at the University of California at Los Angeles in January of 1939 … http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2010/09/ucla-history-jackie-robinson-dons.html
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“UCLA talent scouts plucked the juiciest plum of the 1939 crop of college-bound athletes,” wrote legendary sportswriter Frank Finch in The Los Angeles Times.

“Acclaimed as the most brilliant ball carrier ever developed in Southland junior college ranks, (JACKIE) ROBINSON is expected to help make coach Babe Horrell’s Bruins a distrinct threat in the 1939 (Pacific Coast) Conference scramble. Robinson was the individual fooball drawing card on the Coast last year. The (Pasadena Junior College) Bulldogs eleven, with Robinson operating at one of the two halfback berths, consistently drew from 25,000 to 50,000 spectators to the weekly games played at the Rose Bowl. Ninety-nine percent of those present were there because they wanted to see Robinson scoot.”

The praise was lofty, particularly considering the fact that contemporary USC Trojans star ball carrier Grenville Lansdell, the two-time First Team All-Pacific Coast selection who was the tenth overall player chosen at the 1940 National Football League Draft, had also gone to Pasadena Junior College. But, without a doubt, Robinson’s statistics for the unbeaten and untied Bulldogs in 1938 were most impressive — 1,093 rushing yards gained, 18 touchdowns scored, seven touchdown passes thrown and 131 total points scored in eleven games — in this era of Single Wing football. As a matter of fact, Robinson’s school records for touchdowns and points scored would stand at what is now Pasadena City College for no shorter a time period than 63 years.

The recruitment of junior college transfer Jackie Robinson was a vital move by the UCLA Bruins team that had posted a record of six wins against four losses with one tie in 1938. No longer would opponents be able to simply key on UCLA star left halfback KENNY WASHINGTON, the First Team All-Pacific Coast selection of the Associated Press who had led the Bruins with both 573 yards rushing and seven touchdowns scored during that ’38 NCAA campaign. Now, in addition to stopping standard running plays coming from this double-barreled backfield combination, the possibility of the strong-armed Washington throwing a long pass to the ultra-fast Robinson was certainly something that would always have to be accounted for by any responsible defense.

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Two players who starred for the powerhouse Pasadena Junior College squad in 1938 were immediately recruited by first-year UCLA Bruins head coach Babe Horrell … End RAY BARTLETT (# 31) is at the far left in the last row while superstar halfback JACKIE ROBINSON (# 55) appears third from right in the last row … Horrell, during his own playing days, had once suited up for Pasadena Junior College before going off to the University of California at Berkeley and becoming an All-America center for the Golden Bears in the mid-1920s.
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PASADENA’s 1938 LONG DISTANCE RUNNER JACKIE ROBINSON
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99 yard touchdown run vs Cal Tech
85 yard touchdown run vs Glendale
83 yard touchdown run after lateral vs Los Angeles City College
83 yard punt return touchdown vs Santa Ana
76 yard touchdown run vs San Francisco

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1938 PASADENA JUNIOR COLLEGE football team

http://cdm16237.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p16237coll6/id/2521/rec/2
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There was always a great deal of confusion with respect to JACKIE ROBINSON’s astonishing touchdown total for Pasadena Junior College in 1938 until another player (Jonathan Smith, the would-be Washington State tailback) came along and broke the future Major League Baseball Hall of Famer’s scoring records some 63 years later … http://jcfootball.scout.com/2/24462.html

Most sources, even earlier material originating from Pasadena City College, itself, incorrectly state that Robinson scored seventeen touchdowns during his last season of junior college football — this “Pasadena City College Lancers – 1964 Football Press Book” also inaccurately reports that Robinson played only nine games in 1938 … http://www.mexicofootballnews.info/pasadenacity1964.pdf

One source has done very well to break down Robinson’s touchdown total on a game-by-game basis but the authors Royce & Frye come up two points short on Robinson’s overall scoring total. The likely explanation is that Robinson kicked two extra-points in the lopsided contest with Visalia. On that occasion, the Pasadena starters were pulled after the first quarter and never returned.

JACKIE ROBINSON’s 1938 SCORING RECORD FOR PASADENA J.C.
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1 punt ret td, 4 XP, 1 FG ………………………… vs Santa Ana
3 rush td, 2 XP ………………… (3 td pass) …… vs San Bernardino
3 rush td, 3 XP ………………………………………. vs Ventura
0 td, 1 XP ………………………… (2 td pass) …… vs Taft
0 td, 2 XP ? ……………………………………………. vs Visalia
1 rush td ……………………………………………….. vs Los Angeles C.C.
2 rush td ………………………….. (1 td pass) …… vs Compton
2 rush td, 1 XP ……………………………………….. vs Phoenix
2 rush td, 3 XP …………………. (1 td pass) …… vs San Francisco
2 rush td, 1 XP ……………………………………….. vs Glendale
2 rush td, 3 XP ……………………………………….. vs Cal Tech

http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrary/CFHSN/CFHSNv05/CFHSNv05n3b.pdf

Royce & Frye also omit the fact that, aside from Robinson’s three touchdowns rushing against San Bernardino, the Pasadena superstar halfback also tossed three touchdown passes, as well. Robinson also kicked three extra points and, therefore, had either a hand or foot in all 39 points scored by the Bulldogs that day. Certainly, it is the contest versus San Bernardino that must rank as the most spectacular performance of Robinson’s junior college career.

http://www.abebooks.com/Campus-Junior-College-Annual-Pasadena-City/4729837188/bd

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