Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Cool pic of Stan Musial and super computer
By David Schoenfield
Stan Musial sits in front of a very large computer that predicted his 1961 batting average.
While doing some research for the Greatest Season Ever bracket (don't forget to vote!), I came across this photo of Stan Musial that I hadn't seen before. Here's the original caption:
Stan Musial, St. Louis Cardinal slugger, is shown sitting at an electronic computer that predicted his 1961 batting average would be .303, Dec. 24, 1960 in St. Louis. The $3-million-dollar "Brain" digested the records of Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Eddie Collins, Nap Lajoie and Honus Wagner in computing Stan's 1961 output. The computer is located at the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation's Automation center. Said Stan, "I'll settle for that."
Call it an early version of ZiPS. By the way, the computer did pretty good: After hitting .255 in 1959 and .275 in 1960, Musial hit .288 in 1961, when he was 40 years old (he'd hit .330 in 1962). I don't know if the computer made any other predictions that year or how it calculated its prediction (why did it pick those five players?).
By the way, that offseason Musial signed for $75,000 for 1961 -- a reported $5,000 pay cut from 1960. Musial said he had been "treated royally."