California Legislature Votes 71-0 to Name Portion of 210 Freeway in Honor of Hometown Hero Jackie Robinson

Published : Wednesday, August 24, 2016 | 11:38 AM

A 4.2-mile stretch of the 210 Freeway will be named after Pasadena’s very own Jackie Robinson, the first African-American baseball player in the major leagues.

Through a unanimous 71-0 decision, state lawmakers voted Tuesday to approve the legislation and create the Jackie Robinson Memorial Highway, which will run between Gould Avenue in La Canada Flintridge and Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena. A portion of the freeway on the Pasadena side will be less than half a mile away from where Robinson grew up.

“It’s only fitting to honor Jackie Robinson by naming this stretch of highway near the home he grew up and lived in,” Assemblyman Mike Gatto of Glendale said in a news release. “Jackie Robinson is not only an inspiring figure to us for his accomplishments in athletics, but also as a civil rights-era trailblazer who advocated for social change.”

Robinson, the legend who broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier back in 1947, first moved to California with his mother Mollie when he was just a year old. Born in Georgia, Robinson’s family moved to Pepper Street in Pasadena where he attended John Muir High School and went on to letter in in baseball, football, basketball and track.

After graduating Muir, Robinson went on to Pasadena City College (then called Pasadena Junior College), where, as well as playing four sports, in 1938 he received the school’s “Order of the Mast and Dagger,” awarded to students with outstanding performance in academics, athletics and citizenship.

After graduating Junior College in 1939, Robinson went on to the University of California, Los Angeles, where he became the first athlete in the history of the school to letter in four sports. After serving in the military during World War II, Robinson began his professional baseball career with the Negro League’s Kansas City Monarchs in 1945.

Two years later, after a brief stint in the minor leagues, he and Brooklyn Dodger’s general manager Branch Rickey struck the greatest blow for racial equality in the United States since the Emancipation Proclamation.

“Jackie Robinson was able to bridge a cultural divide though his skill set, but more importantly through his courage, belief in himself and determination to succeed,” Holden said in a press statement. “Naming a portion of the 210 that includes a bridge over the Arroyo Seco is one way we can honor his legacy.”