Where did rotisserie baseball originate?

Where Did Rotisserie Baseball Originate?

Rotisserie baseball – more commonly referred to as fantasy baseball – is a game in which participants assemble their own “fantasy” teams composed of real-life Major League Baseball players. The game was created in 1980 and quickly gained popularity among baseball fans and fantasy sports enthusiasts alike. But what many people don’t know is that the game actually originated in a restaurant in Manhattan.

The Birth of Rotisserie Baseball

In 1979, a group of eight friends gathered in La Rotisserie Francaise restaurant in Manhattan. It was there that the concept of rotisserie baseball was born. The group, which included author Daniel Okrent, had the idea to create a game in which players would “draft” real-life Major League Baseball players and compete against each other based on the statistical performance of those players. The name of the game was derived from the restaurant itself, as “La Rotisserie” is French for “the rotisserie”.

The Original Rules

The original rules of the game were quite simple. Each team was composed of 15 players from both the American and National Leagues. The game was played in two leagues and the teams were divided into two divisions. The teams were required to draft at least five outfielders, three infielders, one catcher, one shortstop, one utility player, and five starting pitchers.

Each team was also given a budget of $260 to spend on their players, with each player having a fixed price assigned to him. The prices were determined by the individual players’ past performance and potential future performance. At the end of the season, the teams’ cumulative statistics were compared and the team with the highest total number of points was declared the winner.

Rise in Popularity

The game quickly gained popularity among baseball fans and fantasy sports enthusiasts. By 1981, the number of rotisserie baseball leagues had increased to 12 and the game had become a national phenomenon. The game was featured in various magazines and newspapers, and a number of books were written about it.

In 1988, the game was officially recognized by Major League Baseball, and by the early 1990s, the number of rotisserie baseball leagues had grown to over one million.

Expansion of Rotisserie Baseball

The game of rotisserie baseball has continued to evolve and expand since its inception. In the early days, the game was played primarily in the traditional “snake draft” format, in which teams took turns selecting players in a specific order.

Over time, the game has expanded to include other formats such as auction drafts, where teams bid on players in an open market, and keeper leagues, where teams can retain players from one season to the next. The game has also become more sophisticated, with the introduction of more advanced statistical analysis and the use of modern computing technology.

Rotisserie Baseball Today

Today, rotisserie baseball is one of the most popular fantasy sports games. Millions of people around the world play the game every year, with many leagues and tournaments being held annually. The game has also become more accessible, with the introduction of online platforms and apps that allow players to manage their teams and track their statistics.

Fantasy Baseball vs. Traditional Baseball

Fantasy baseball and traditional baseball have a lot of similarities, but there are also some key differences. While traditional baseball is a team sport where players compete in games against other teams, fantasy baseball is not a team sport in the traditional sense. It is a game of individual statistical performance, where each team’s performance is based on the cumulative performance of its players.

The Benefits of Rotisserie Baseball

Rotisserie baseball is a great way for fans to engage more deeply with the sport and keep up with their favorite players and teams. It is also an excellent way for people to learn more about baseball, as the game requires players to analyze and interpret various statistical categories.

Rotisserie baseball is also a great way to bond with other fans and build lasting friendships. Many rotisserie baseball leagues are composed of friends and family members who come together to compete against each other in a friendly competition.

Rotisserie Baseball and the Future

Rotisserie baseball has come a long way since its humble beginnings in La Rotisserie Francaise restaurant in Manhattan. The game has grown in popularity and has evolved to include a variety of formats and rules. As technology advances and more sophisticated statistical analysis becomes available, it is likely that rotisserie baseball will continue to grow and evolve.


Rotisserie baseball is a fun and engaging game that has captivated baseball fans and fantasy sports enthusiasts for decades. The game was born in a restaurant in Manhattan and has since grown to become one of the most popular fantasy sports games in the world. With its combination of strategy, statistical analysis, and camaraderie, rotisserie baseball is sure to be around for many years to come.

Keywords: rotisserie baseball, fantasy baseball, Major League Baseball, La Rotisserie Francaise, snake draft, auction drafts, keeper leagues, fantasy sports, statistical analysis.