Hoffarth, by the numbers

Tom Hoffarth is doing the dirty work so that you and I don't have to. Last Sunday, he started an all-time great sports roster by number - that is, a list of the greatest SoCal athletes by the uniform number s/he wore: Jimmy Reese at #50, Bo Belinsky at #36, Ann Meyers at #15, etc.

Hoffarth has encountered at least one numeric mystery: what digits did Jackie Robinson wear while playing baseball at UCLA?

Writes Hoffarth: "At UCLA, where he attended from 1939 to the spring of 1941, [Robinson] wore No. 18 in basketball, No. 28 in football and in baseball . . . no one's quite sure.

"He only played baseball one season -- 1940 -- sporting a .097 batting average. There are photos of him in uniform, but nothing to show his number.

"UCLA's sports information department can't find any evidence of it. The Dodgers, and Baseball Hall of Fame's research department in Cooperstown, N.Y., didn't produce anything. Neither did a dig through the Amateur Athletic Foundation [now known as the LA84Foundation] nor the Pasadena City library archives."

No word as to whether Hoffarth has found out what uniform number JR wore while playing baseball at Pasadena Junior College. Meanwhile, Hoffarth will soon unveil his list of the greatest SoCal athletes who didn't wear numbers: Tiger Woods, Oscar De La Hoya, Billie Jean King, etc.

October 20, 2007 11:00 AM • Native Intelligence • Email the editor

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