Tuesday, August 22, 2006
It's no secret that Albert Pujols is one of the stars of the Saint Louis Cardinals. But how good is he really? Washington University students wanted to find out, so they gave him the same scientific tests given to Babe Ruth when he was 26 to see how they compared. The results were surprising.
For one test, White put a piece of paper in front of Pujols. Capital letters were strewn about the page. White told Pujols to locate and cross out all of the As.What a guy! I think we'll keep him around for a while.
White realized she'd never seen anyone scan the page the way Pujols did. Most people scan a page left to right, the way they do when they read. Pujols visually divided the page into sectors and searched each one briefly for the letters before moving on to the next sector. When he'd searched all sectors, he returned to the first and started over. It took him four rounds and a minute to complete the task.
"I've never seen anyone scan that way, but it would be important on the baseball field," White said, noting the skill would allow Pujols to scan the field and know where everyone is without missing any action.
In another test, Pujols replicated 133 symbols in a minute - a testament to Pujols' hand-eye coordination. The test makers don't even list a score that high.
In a test of finger-tapping speed, Pujols tapped at 2.4 standard deviations faster than average - placing him in the 99th percentile.
"It just doesn't get any better than that," White said.
In fact, Pujols popped the screw right out of the finger tapper. He was contrite, even fixed the machine, tightening the screw with a fingernail.
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