Jackie would move on to Pasadena Junior College after graduating from Muir High School where he continued his athletic career by playing basketball, football, baseball, and track once again. On the football team Jackie played both sides of the ball this time playing quarterback and also playing some safety on the defense. He would be the leadoff man for his baseball team while manning the short stop position. He would once again get recognition in track for his broad jumping ability after breaking school records in the competition previously held by his brother Matthew, whose nickname was Mack. While playing on the football team Jackie suffered a fractured ankle which would complicate his deployment status while he was in the military. Jackie would also be elected to the Lancers at his time in Pasadena Junior College which is a student run police organization responsible for patrolling the school grounds during various school activities. In 1938 Jackie was elected to the All Southland Junior College Baseball Team and was selected as the regions MVP in that league. Also in that season Jackie was one of ten students named to the school's Order of the Mast and Dagger which was awarded to students who performed outstanding service to the school and whose scholastic and citizenship record is worthy of recognition. In 1938 he was arrested after getting into a shouting match with the police and received a two year suspended sentence. This was the beginning of the reputation of being very combative when it came to racial antagonisms and such. Frank Robinson, Jackie's closest brother, dies in a motorcycle accident towards the end of his PJC career which prompted him to transfer to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to be closer to his family.
Jackie transferred to UCLA in the spring of 1939 where he became the school's first athlete to win varsity letters in four sports, which were baseball, basketball, football, and track. He was one of four black players in the 1939 UCLA Bruins football team and was one of three of the four backfield players on the football team. In 1940 Jackie won the NCAA Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championship in the long jump when he jumped 24 ft 10 1/4 inches. Baseball was surprisingly considered his worst sport in his time spent at UCLA after hitting .097 in his only season there, although in his first game he did for 4-4 with two steals of home. In his senior year at UCLA Jackie would meet his future wife Rachel Isum who was a freshman and was familiar with his athletic career at Pasadena Junior College. In 1941 Jackie left college just shy of graduation and took a job as an assistant athletic director with the National Youth Administration in Atascadero, California. Later that year the government stopped the NYA and Jackie found himself in Honolulu to play football for the Honolulu Bears. Jackie would try and latch in later in that year with the Los Angeles Bulldogs of the Pacific Coast Football League but by that time the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had drawn the United States into World War II, thus ending Jackie's football career.
In 1942 Jackie was drafted into the military and assigned to an Army cavalry unit in Fort Riley, Kansas. After much protesting Jackie Robinson was admitted into the Officer Candidate School at Fort Riley which would bring Jackie and heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis closer as friends. Robinson was promoted to second lieutenant and was reassigned to Fort Hood, Texas where he joined the 761st Black Panthers Tank Battalion. On July 6th, 1944 Jackie's military career would take a turn for the worse as he was in the hospital awaiting test results on the ankle he injured in junior college. Jackie would board an unsegregated bus afterwards and was ordered to move to the back of the bus, although he refused and was taken into custody by the military police when he reached his destination. After confronting the investigating officer about being racist Jackie was recommended for a court martial. Robinson was not court martialed but transferred to the 758th Battalion where he was charged with multiple charges including public drunkenness, although Jackie was never known as a drinker. Jackie was acquitted of all charges by an all-white panel of nine officers but Jackie still missed being deployed overseas and never saw any combat action. Jackie would receive an honorable discharge in 1944 but not before meeting a former player for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League who encouraged Jackie to try out for the Monarchs, which he did in 1945.
Jackie would finish his major league career with a .311 career batting average with 1,518 hits, 137 home runs, 734 RBI's, and 197 stolen bases among other accolades. He would only play in ten seasons, all for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and would play in six World Series and six All Star Games including one World Series ring and one MVP award. In 1962, after pleading with voters to only vote on his on the field play and not his historic impact to the game of baseball, Jackie was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first ballot. The Dodgers would retire his #42 on June 4th, 1972 along with teammates Roy Campanella, #39, and Sandy Koufax, #32. Jackie would make his final public appearance in October of 1972 where he threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 of the World Series. In 1999 Jackie was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Jackie Robinson would die on October 24th, 1972 in Stamford, Connecticut.
Jackie has been honored many times since his death of a heart attack at age 53. In 1987 both the American and National League Rookie of the Year Awards were renamed the Jackie Robinson Award. In 1997 Major League Baseball retired Jackie's #42 all across baseball with Mariano Rivera the only player left that was grandfathered in and still wearing it. In 2006 the New York Mets modeled the main entrance of their new stadium, Citi Field, after old Ebbets Field and named it the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. Also, starting in 2004, the Aflac National High School Baseball Player of the Year has been presented as the Jackie Robinson Award. In 2007 Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria Shriver announced that Jackie would be inducted into the California Hall of Fame. His former college baseball team, the UCLA Bruins, play all their baseball games in Jackie Robinson Stadium and even have a memorial state of Robinson inside the stadium. City Island Ballpark in Daytona Beach, Florida was renamed Jackie Robinson Ballpark in 1990 and has a statue of Jackie and his two children in front of the stadium. There are many other buildings, houses, fields, etc. named after Jackie because of everything he did both on and off the baseball field.
Jackie Robinson will always be remembered for breaking the color barrier in baseball and leading the charge for black players in baseball. Jackie Robinson always did things the right way and fought for what he believed in and will always be remembered no matter how many years pass. Happy Jackie Robinson Day everybody and thank you Jackie for everything you have done both on and off the field.