Whenever I’m out and about, I love to visit downtown areas of other cities.
I started visiting California during the Summer of 1973 when two friends and I took a brand new Buick Apollo on a 10,000-mile trip to every National Park, National Monument, National Forest, big city, and major tourist attraction west of the Mississippi River.
One of the cities we visited was Pasadena, but we were mainly interested in the Rose Bowl. It seats 100,000 people or so, meaning that it’s not exactly in downtown Pasadena. Surprisingly, after living in San Diego for 20+ years I had never been to Pasadena downtown proper….
….until this past May.
Pasadena City Hall has to be in the top two or three most beautiful city halls in all of America:
For my previous post on Pasadena City Hall, click on the link.
The plazas surrounding Pasadena City Hall are concrete and brick, beautiful concrete and brick, which sounds like an oxymoron. Part of one such plaza:
One of the plazas has a tribute to Mack and Jackie Robinson, the Pasadena Robinson Memorial, dedicated in 1997.
Baseball fans will recognize Jackie Robinson (1919-1972) as the player who broker the color barrier in major league baseball when the Brooklyn Dodgers (forerunners of the Los Angeles Dodgers) started him at first base on April 15, 1947, effectively starting the beginning of the end of the separate Negro Leagues.
I knew the story of Jackie Robinson but not that of Mack (1914-2000).
Both Mack and Jackie were born in Cairo, Georgia. The boys were young when the family was left fatherless—I could not find out why. Mallie Robinson then moved her family across the country to Pasadena.
Mack attended Pasadena City College where he set national junior college records in the 100 meters, 200 meters, and long jump. He attended the University of Oregon, graduating in 1941, and won many titles in NCAA, AAU, and Pacific Coast Conference track.
Mack went on to win a silver medal at the infamous 1936 Summer Olympics held in Berlin, Germany. In the men’s 200 meters, he finished just four-tenths of a second behind the incomparable Jesse Owens.
Mack led the fight against street crime in Pasadena. I think crime might be the reason why my friends and I skipped the downtown areas of both Oakland and Pasadena way back in 1973.
Several locations in Pasadena are named in honor of Mack Robinson, including the stadium of Pasadena City College and the Pasadena post office.
Mack always considered Pasadena home, so his sculpture faces City Hall. Jackie left Pasadena and moved east, obviously to be with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Thus, his sculpture faces east.
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