history of fantasy baseball – Punky G. (G stands for Giants!) (2024)

Here’s the generally accepted version of history when it comes to the origin of fantasy baseball in the America:

The invention of fantasy baseball is commonly attributed to Daniel Okrent, the author and magazine editor, who devised a version in late 1979 or early 1980 and invited friends to begin a league in Manhattan. Participants in a Rotisserie league draft notional teams from the list of active Major League Baseball players and play out an entire imaginary season with game outcomes based on the players’ latest real-world statistics.


Here are the facts: The first fantasy baseball league was started on Friday, March 31, 1970 in a downtown office in San Francisco. It was organized by a dedicated group of baseball aficionados and became known as The Cabell Baseball Draft. This is first organized fantasy baseball league in the United States. And it’s still going strong!

Established March 31, 1970

The legendary Cabell Baseball Draft (the oldest Fantasy Baseball League in the United States) will hold it’s 43rd draft on Saturday, March 31, 2012 at the Plaza Suites Hotel in Santa Clara, California. First pitch (pick) is at 11:30am. Sharpen your spikes and pencils!

I joined the league 10 years ago, in 2002. But these guys are the true pioneers of fantasy baseball. Their first draft date (03-31-1970) pre-dates all other fantasy baseball and rotisserie leagues by at least 10 years! It’s time to rewrite the history of fantasy and rotisserie baseball and give credit where credit is due. The Cabell Baseball Draft is the granddaddy of them all! Roger Cabell (Commissioner), Robert DeBarr (Secretary to Commissioner), and Phil Johnson are three of the original owners (and are still active in the league). All three deserve to be enshrined in the Fantasy Baseball Hall of Fame!

I think a similar rewrite of history occurred with Christopher Columbus, whom for centuries was credited with discovering America. Until they unearthed a Viking’s helmet and realized they’d been playing football in Minnesota long before Columbus reached our shores.

The Cabell Baseball Draft is a story filled with tradition, joy, sadness, family, friends, but above all else a love of baseball. In 1970, there were only 9 franchises. Over the years, the number of franchises has grown to 16 and includes a rich legacy of fathers, sons, and even grandsons. Franchise owners have come from a variety of fields, banking, advertising, law, technology, produce, wine sales, and real estate spanning more than four decades!

The Cabell Baseball Draft Owners Meeting in Santa Clara April 4, 2009

Several owners have retired, some have vanished, and six have passed on to the big draft board in the sky. RIP – Walt Anderson, Mort Herrmann, Gene Linehan, Jim Farley and Tim Farley-RIP. But the Cabell Baseball Draft just keeps rolling along! Over the decades, the annual Cabell drafts have been held in San Francisco, Brisbane, Los Gatos, Dana Point, Santa Clara, Portola Valley, San Jose and even on Catalina Island!

[“Hey why is the picture Of The Cabell Draft Owners from Catalina so fuzzy? Oh yeah, what happens on Catalina stays on Catalina!”]

Just like real baseball, the rules have changed a little over the years. But the Cabell Baseball Draft is basically a keeper league with players drafted to fill all nine positions, with five starting pitchers, one closer, one designated hitter and six bench players. This adds up to 21 players on each roster. Each year, players drafted in the first two rounds (and the DH) along with all bench players must be released at the end of the season. Starting in the third round all players drafted are considered keepers. In addition, owners are only allowed to retain 10 players and must voluntarily release two other players, before the start of the next season.

What’s great about the Cabell Baseball Draft is you don’t need a computer or calculator to keep track. All you need is a box score. The scoring is based on just three player statistics listed in every box score.

Home Runs = 1 point
Wins = 2 points
Saves = 1 point

The challenge of the Cabell Baseball Draft is to find position players who hit the long ball, pitchers who know how to win, and closers who can seal the deal. BA, RBI, SB, BB, for hitters, and OBP, ERA, WHIP, Ks for pitchers don’t really add up to anything in this league. It may sound simple, but just like real baseball it’s damn hard to build a winning franchise and move up in the standings!

I got the call to join the Cabell Baseball Draft in the spring of 2002 from my life-long friend Danny DeBarr. My brothers and I had grown up on the same block with Danny in San Jose playing street baseball, trading cards, and going to Giants’ games. He was just a couple years younger than me. When Danny called me I noticed he was coughing every few seconds. What I didn’t know was that Danny (at just age 43) had somehow contracted lung cancer. Even though he never smoked a day in his life. Sadly, Danny passed away that August leaving behind two young daughters and a wife. Just like baseball, there a moments that can break your heart.

Oh Danny Boy... 1958-2002

But life and baseball go on. And so does the Cabell Baseball Draft. I’m looking forward to draft day next Saturday. I’m also looking for couple power hitting outfielders and two starting pitchers who can rack up the W’s.

You can judge a season by a magazine cover: BEAT LA!

Here’s my current roster with scouting reports:

OF – Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) The Miami masher! Where’s Mikey?
1B – Eric Hosmer (KC) Last name should be Homer?
2B – Kelly Johnson (TOR) Good pop for a two-bagger.
SS – J.J. Hardy (BAL) Another 30 HR season?
3B – Mike Moustakas (KC) This kid can rake!
C – Matt Wieters (BAL) Finally living up to hype…
SP – Josh Johnson (MIA) Stay healthy ace!
SP – Dan Haren (LAA) 16 W’s possible with Pujols?
SP – Mat Latos (CIN) Better team = more W’s?
CL – J.J. Putz (ARI) 40 save formula: 3 Ks in the 9th

Hey, how did I end up with two J.J.’s on my squad?

The key to success in the Cabell Baseball Draft is to always be on the lookout for young up and coming talent! Baseball skills help too.

Anyway, it’s going to be a great season… B. J., Rick & Jeff, Phil & Bob Day, Mike & Brent, Tom, Don, Young Bob, Jim & Kev, Tony, Bull, Joey, Rog, Ray & Dan, and Old Bob… Play ball!

history of fantasy baseball – Punky G. (G stands for Giants!) (2024)


What was the original name of the San Francisco Giants? ›

San Francisco Giants, American professional baseball team based in San Francisco. The Giants have won eight World Series titles and 23 National League (NL) pennants. The franchise that would become the Giants was established in 1883 in New York City and was initially known as the Gothams.

Why are they called the Giants? ›

Mutrie was believed to have coined the moniker after a comeback victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in 1885, when he proclaimed, “My big fellows, my giants!" However, research has suggested that the Giants nickname might have been popularized by P.J. Donahue, a sportswriter for the New York Evening World.

Why did the New York Giants move to San Francisco? ›

Walter O'Malley persuaded the Giants owner Horace Stoneham to move to San Francisco. The Giants were playing in NYC at a stadium not designed for baseball, the Polo Grounds. Their attendance was poor, and they did not have the capital to invest in a new ballpark.

Where were the Giants originally from? ›

Founded in 1883 as the New York Gothams, the team was renamed the New York Giants three years later, eventually relocating from New York City to San Francisco in 1958.

Why were they called Giants? ›

Origins. The name "Gigantes" is usually taken to imply "earth-born", and Hesiod's Theogony makes this explicit by having the Giants be the offspring of Gaia (Earth). According to Hesiod, Gaia, mating with Uranus, bore many children: the first generation of Titans, the Cyclopes, and the Hundred-Handers.

What was the old mascot of the San Francisco Giants? ›

In 1984, ownership hired a local actor to take on the challenge of becoming the Crazy Crab, a parody of other Major League Baseball mascots. Crazy Crab was introduced to Giants fans through a commercial and was not received well. "I think the crab's kind of stupid, I could do without him," a fan told KCRA 3 in 1984.

What is the oldest MLB team? ›

Atlanta Braves, the oldest continually operating team in North American sports. Known as "Beaneaters" and other nicknames, as original nickname faded and became re-associated with Cincinnati (and later with the Boston Red Sox). Adopted name "Braves" in 1912.

How did the San Francisco Giants get their nickname? ›

On June 3, after a rousing extra-innings victory over Philadelphia, manager Jim Mutrie was so overcome with emotion that he supposedly blurted out a description of his team that immediately became the franchise's new nickname. He called them his Giants.

Did the Giants almost leave San Francisco? ›

The 1987 Giants, pictured above at Candlestick, led the club to its first postseason appearance since 1971. In 1985, owner Bob Lurie threatened to move the team out of the city of San Francisco to another location in the San Francisco Bay Area. Locations under consideration were Redwood City, San José, and Milpitas.

What is the origin story of the Giants? ›

According to Greek myth, the giants were the children of Uranus (the Sky) and Gaia (the Earth) but were almost never born. Afraid the giants would be too powerful, Uranus would not allow them to be born, imprisoning them in Gaia's womb.

Where are Giants from in the Bible? ›

In this story, the giants came into being when the Watcher "sons of God" (who, per the story's corroborative Jubilees account [Jub 4:15; 5:6], God originally dispatched to earth for the purpose of instructing and nurturing humanity "in proper ritual and ethical conduct," "to do what is just and upright upon the earth") ...

Who played for the SF Giants the longest? ›

SF Giants kick off trade season by shipping out longest-tenured player. Austin Slater of the San Francisco Giants hits a single against the Houston Astros in the bottom of the fourth inning at Oracle Park on June 12, 2024, in San Francisco.

What was the old name of the SF Giants stadium? ›

Oracle Park is a baseball stadium in the SoMa district of San Francisco, California. Since 2000, it has been the ballpark of Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants. Previously named Pacific Bell Park, SBC Park, and AT&T Park, the stadium's current name was purchased by the Oracle Corporation in 2019.

What was the New York Giants old name? ›

To distinguish themselves from the professional baseball team of the same name, the football team was incorporated as the "New York National League Football Company, Inc." in 1929 and then changed to "New York Football Giants, Inc." in 1937.

What happened to Candlestick Park? ›

The last event held at Candlestick was a concert by Paul McCartney in August 2014, and the demolition of the stadium was completed in September 2015.

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