Jackie Robinson changed baseball and changed America 68 years ago today, on April 15, 1947 when by playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers, he became the first African-American to play major league baseball. As has been done in each of the past seven seasons, all players on all teams playing on April 15 will wear Jackie’s number 47 uniform number, which was officially retired from use by any new player in baseball in 1997.
|Jackie had been a multi-sport star at UCLA, lettering in baseball, basketball, football, and track. In fact, it was said by people who saw him play, that his best sport was tennis. In 1939, he was one of four black player on UCLA's football team, making it the most most integrated team in college football.|
92-year-old Rachel Robinson, Jackie's widow (who was also a student at UCLA when they
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Over the years, besides Jackie Robinson, UCLA has produced many great major league baseball players. The list over the last three or four decades includes names such as Chris Chambliss, Eric Karros, Troy Glaus, Jeff Conine, Todd Zeile, Tim Leary, Bill Bonham, Matt Young, Bill Haselman, and Eric Byrnes, and while there have not been large numbers of Bruins in the majors in recent years, there are currently six Bruins on major league rosters, Chase Utley, Brandon Crawford, Erik Goeddel, David Huff, and two young pitchers who may well become two of baseball’s very best over the next decade, Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer.
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|At 24 years of age and beginning his third year in the majors after having been the first pick in the 2011 draft, Cole may already be the ace of the Pittsburgh Pirates' starting staff. Over parts of two seasons, not much more than the equivalent of one full year, he's started 41 games, going 22-12 with a 3.45 ERA. This year so far, he's made two solid starts, but has not had a decision.
Bauer, also 22 and having been picked number
Both Cole and Bauer are hard throwers, with Bauer in the mid 90s topping out around 97, while Cole hits the high 90s, and reportedly has been clocked at 102.
As the greatest Bruin in the majors over the last decade, Chase Utley, sees his career winding down, Cole and Bauer should be the faces of UCLA in the majors for years to come.