Seven years later, he’d be a household name but in September of 1940, Jackie Robinson was just another guy on the UCLA football team. A new-to-market publicity photo taken at the start of Bruins’ practice just over a year before the start of World War II, shows Robinson and others leaping over teammates. The photo is part of the Premier Auction now underway at RMY Auctions, which specializes in vintage sports and historic photographs.
The Acme News Service photo measures 7x9” and comes with a full paper caption on the back identifying each player in the shot.
Robinson had transferred to Westwood after two record-setting years at Pasadena Junior College. A fullback, Robinson was one of four African-American players on the UCLA football roster in 1939, making the Bruins the most integrated team in major college football.
He became the first athlete in school history to earn varsity letters in four sports: baseball, football, basketball and track and field. However, baseball was considered his weakest sport.
Hopes were high for the 1940 Bruins but the team finished 1-9.
Auction bidding is currently underway and will conclude Saturday, February 22 at RMYAuctions.com.