I've just watched Silly Little Game, a ESPN film about the beginnings of what is now fantasy baseball.
Fantasy baseball began as the Rotisserie League, named after the French restaurant on the East Side of Manhattan where a group of sportswriters and magazine editors thought up the idea of competing against each other with teams of
Major League players.
One of the interesting aspects of the programme was how fantasy baseball drove the publication of baseball stats and even created a new one, WHIP (walks and hits by innings pitched). And even though the Rotisserie League had a pretty conventional approach to what stats are most important (RBI's and batting average rather than slugging and on base percentage), the fact that stats were being published regularly led to the Moneyball approach of Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane that has since been copied widely by mid-market teams drafting players.