Rotisserie leagues are games where a group of players each “draft” a team drawn from major league rosters before the season starts and then trade, sign, call up, and cut the players just like general managers in the major leagues. Points are awarded to Rotisserie League teams based on their players’ current ML statistics. The concept in its current form was begun in January 1980 by a small group of New York City authors, editors, and other professionals, at a Manhattan restaurant called La Rotisserie Francaise (thus the name Rotisserie League). Among the original owners who have since spread the Rotisserie gospel are Dan Okrent and Glen Waggoner.
The players’ performance in various statistical categories is added up for each team and ranked at the end of the season to determine standings. Variations on the original idea have resulted in similarly structured leagues referred to as “fantasy baseball” and “statistical baseball” to differentiate them from the stricter rules and more traditional statistical categories of the original. The game grew in popularity throughout the 1980s, bringing prosperity to companies designed to bring together owners and calculate standings. The growth even had an influence on USA Today’s weekly major league statistical summary.