Throwback Thursday–In the Arroyo Seco, there is a historic baseball field named Jackie Robinson Memorial Field to honor one of greatest ballplayers to ever play the game. On March 13, 1938, Jackie Robinson’s Pasadena City College team played an exhibition game at the Brookside Park field, getting a pair of hits in a 3-2 loss to the major league White Sox in 11 innings. The White Sox team manager, Jimmy Dykes, was so impressed by Jackie he reportedly said: “If that boy was white, I’d sign him right now.” Dykes recognized Jackie’s talent but refused to give him an official tryout with the team. On March 22, 1942, Jackie Robinson and Nate Moreland were allowed to warm up with the White Sox during spring training camp in Pasadena. Dykes again passed on the talented young Robinson referring to the “unwritten law which prevents negro players from participating in organized baseball.” The years the White Sox occupied the Arroyo Seco Stadium in Pasadena for spring training in 1933-42 and 1946-52 are referred to by Chicago fans as “the lean years.” It wouldn’t be until 1959 the White Sox would finally win the pennant and appear in their first World Series since the 1919 “Black Sox Scandal.” The White Sox lost the series to the Dodgers, the same ball club that signed Jackie Robinson to become the first African American in history to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era. Above, the Los Angeles Dodgers unveiled a Jackie Robinson statue – the first statue in Dodger Stadium history – last Saturday, April 15, when the club joined all of Major League Baseball in celebrating Jackie Robinson Day. Saturday marked the 70th anniversary of Robinson breaking MLB’s color barrier on April 15, 1947.
THROWBACK THURSDAY IS WRITTEN AND PRODUCED BY RICK THOMAS