In 1997, Major League Baseball retired the #42 worn by Jackie Robinson with the exception that anyone who currently wore the number could continue to do so until the end of their career. When Robinson debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, he was the first African American to play in the Major Leagues in the 20th century.
Now the University of California, Los Angeles is following suit. It is retiring the #42 for all men’s and women’s sports teams. The three student athletes who currently wear the number are permitted to continue doing so until they exhaust their eligibility.
Robinson starred in four sports at UCLA: football, basketball, track, and baseball. He won the NCAA championship in the broad jump and led the Pacific Coast Conference in scoring twice in basketball. In football, he was an honorable mention for All-American honors.
UCLA also has renamed its sports and recreation complex to honor Jackie Robinson. Twenty-two facilities will now be under the umbrella of the Jackie Robinson Athletics and Recreation Complex on the UCLA campus.
UCLA athletics director stated: “Jackie Robinson was one of the great athletes of the 20th century. Yet for all of Jackie’s athletic achievements, it is his humanity that sets him apart from the others. As UCLA athletic director, I expect our student-athletes to represent the university with class, character and dignity under any and all circumstances – in short, I expect them to meet the standard set forth by Jackie Robinson.”