John Burgeson papers
The John Burgeson papers are arranged into five series. The physical materials are housed in one archival document box. Digital files comprise one series, located on the internal network of The Strong.
- 1947 - 2012
- Majority of material found within 1960 - 1963
- Burgeson, John (Engineer, Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Please see The Strong's Digital Games Files Access Policy ext>.
Conditions Governing Use
0.25 Linear Feet (1 box)
314 Megabytes (Digital files) : Accessible on-site at The Strong.
Burgeson grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, where he and his brother often played baseball-simulation board games while supporting the Cleveland Indians. He received his BS in Physics from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Burgeson soon earned his MS, also in Physics, from Florida State University. In 1955, he began work as a civil service physicist for the United States government, researching military machinery. Two years later, he began what would turn out to be a 35-year career at International Business Machines Corporation (better known as IBM) in Akron, Ohio. In 1960, Burgeson, programming on the IBM 1620, invented a baseball game simulator. This simulation used true statistics from historical players to mock up a nine-inning baseball game, resulting in computer-generated play-by-play text with a final score. John collaborated with his brother, Paul, on the development of the game.
Burgeson’s baseball simulator game, or “BBC Program,” ended up in the IBM 1620’s software library as the only game among a batch of data processing programs. The BBC Program picked up some publicity in the early 1960s via newspaper articles and a radio show feature hosted by Rege Cordic of KDKA Pittsburgh. The IBM 1620 scientific computer ceased production by 1970; since only about 2,000 units had ever been manufactured, the BBC Program faded into obscurity. Burgeson reminded the world of the simulation program nearly 50 years after its invention when he appended text and images from his computer simulation game into a Wikipedia entry on fantasy baseball.
Burgeson retired from IBM in 1992 and worked as an independent market research consultant for two more years. He and his wife now reside in Texas. Burgeson’s interests include baseball, cars, religion, and his large family.
System of Arrangement
Series I: BBC Program code and selected simulations, 1960-1962
Series II: Correspondence, 1961-1963
Series III: Publicity, 1962-1963
Series IV: Baseball computer games essay, 1990
Series V: Digital files, 1947-2012
- Finding Aid to the John Burgeson Papers, 1947-2012
- Julia Novakovic
- 25 June 2014
- Description rules
- Language of description
Part of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong Repository
One Manhattan Square
Rochester NY 14607 USA