This article is part of our The Z Files series.
The past several weeks, a group of us have been holding a series of retro drafts in which we pick a season and conduct a 12-team snake draft using standard 5x5 rotisserie scoring and roster requirements. It's part competitive and part social as there is an accompanying Zoom meeting, replete with trash-talking, catching up and reminiscing about the season being drafted. For yours truly, it's also been a laboratory.
We started with 1982, the first official year of rotisserie as we know it. RotoWire's Jeff Erickson was the inaugural winner and draft organizer Ron Shandler suggested the winner should choose the next season. Erickson selected 1990, not so coincidentally the last time his beloved Reds won the World Series. BaseballHQ bullpen guru Doug Dennis took down 1990 then promptly named 1999 as the next draft, to memorialize the year Doug first met Steve Moyer and Lawr Michaels, our friends and colleagues who sadly passed too soon.
The initial dirty dozen involved with this endeavor grew to the point we could handle two groups, so 1999 was drafted twice, by two mostly different competitors. RotoWire podcast co-host Fred Zinkie captured the first run while perennial XFL contender Jeff Winick was victorious in the second iteration. Repeating the exercise offered a great chance to study the impact of pure value versus roster construction, especially since divergent pathways resulted in victory.
By means of background, it's become apparent that not only is punting a category a viable approach, it's arguably optimal. The categories