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12/3/2016
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Letterhead from the Commissioner Bill Winkenbach


A NOD

(AND A WINK)

TO THE FOUNDERS OF FANTASY FOOTBALL

by Bob Harris and Emil Kadlec
Left to Right: Bob Lyons. Hal Wells, Father James Kelly, John Madden, John Ford III, Bill Winkenbach, and Tom Culligan Jr. In Front
W hile critics, skeptics and the proverbial nattering nabobs of negativism have a hard time coming to grips with the already remarkable and still growing popularity of Fantasy Football, the allure to those who actively take part in the game couldn't bemore obvious.

It's like this: Fantasy football offers NFL fans the otherwise unattainable ability to "get in" on their favorite sport by requiring them to assume all the responsibilities associated with operating real NFL franchises.

In fact, by asking participants to serve as owner, general manager and head coach, anybody from the casual observer to the most ardent fan is afforded the unique opportunity to greatly increase the level of fun and excitement they already draw from NFL games as a "normal" fan to exhilarating new heights.

Which begs the question: What could possibly be cooler?

The short answer, of course, is darned little.

That's why we believe it's incumbent upon those of us who promote, participate in and derive so much satisfaction from the game to document its origin and pass along to the uninitiated an understanding of where and how our hobby began-- and at the same time,

"Tell them
to go
buy a
football."

-- Bill Winkenbach upon learning in 1965 that a
group of San Franciscans were apparently planning
a circuit similar to GOPPPL.
offer some much deserved credit to those responsible for it.

With that goal in mind, the intrepid staff of Fantasy Sports Publications set out to accomplish that very task. In the months spent putting this article together, one thing stood out above all else:

The game of Fantasy Football -- and the basic concepts that drive Fantasy sports in general - are timeless.

As we went through the process of interviewing many of the principals involved and visiting some of their old haunts, we couldn't help but notice how many of the same issues that today's participants bump into mirror those encountered by the game's inventors.

So, even though the primary objective of this article is to document the origin of our hobby, we've taken the liberty of scattering a series of quotes, anecdotes and what we call historical footnotes throughout this article to put that timelessness into perspective and lend further credence to the old corollary that states: The more things change the more they stay the same.

We hope you enjoy it.

YOU ARE HERE
Before we travel back in time it might be a good idea - especially for those just getting into Fantasy Football -- to examine the current state of the hobby.rts Publications

According to a recent Harris Interactive poll, nearly 30 million Americans are on the Fantasy bandwagon, a number that grows exponentially with the start of each new season. That same poll tells us the average fantasy player spends $110 a year per sport on the hobby. Another polling firm estimates that almost 6.5 million women play fantasy sports.

Of course, in addition to football, the above-mentioned figures include baseball, basketball, golf, tennis and NASCAR, all of which also boast thriving Fantasy spin-offs.

With all due respect, however, no sport better fits the specifications required by the Fantasy sports model quite like football. Or, more specifically, NFL football.

Denver Post columnist Wilford "Bill" Winkenbach ... Mark Kiszla summed up the

mindset of the current generation of Fantasy owners succinctly in September of 2000, when he wrote: "Fantasy football is the revenge of a fan disenfranchised by free agency, allowing any league participant to draft, start, bench or waive the same millionaire players who once broke hearts by dumping the hometown NFL team for bigger bucks in Baltimore."

But there are obviously other factors involved. As Oakland area bar owner and restaurateur Andy Mousalimas, who played a prominent role in both the ori-

"Wink asked me once to put together a board game or
something like that which followed our rules in GOPPPL,
but I never had the time to do it. ... It probably would
have made a few bucks if we could have copyrighted or
patented it."
-- George Ross

gin and early propagation of the hobby, once explained: "It's the ego trip, you know. ... You own your own team. You draft 'em. They're yours. You can say, 'This is my team.'"

Television has also played a major role in Fantasy's growth.

As former Oakland Tribune editor and Fantasy OG George Ross once pointed out, "TV caters to fantasy leagues. ... You don't see the game on the screen; you see one guy throwing the ball or one guy running the ball. They focus in on the quarterbacks and running backs way too much."

In addition to the coverage described by Ross, the mainstream media's recent "discovery" of the game has resulted in a dramatic spike in airtime devoted to the kind of specialized, Fantasy-specific information participants crave

If there were any lingering questions as to how big Fantasy Football has become, the best answers are clearly coming from Park Avenue.

That's right. We're talking about the NFL itself.

The very same league that until just a few years ago treated Fantasy owners like red-headed stepchildren has suddenly embraced the game -- as evidenced by recent television commercials featuring star players discussing Fantasy issues and the almost endless stream of time, energy and other resources league officials have poured into the creation of Fantasy-specific web content on NFL.com.

The ol' trickle-down effect is in full swing here, too. NFL players are also getting the message

During a February 14, 2002 appearance on Fox Sports Net "The Best Damn Sports Show Period," Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George admitted to

WHO
MADE WHO?

According to the highly regarded Dickson's Baseball Dictionary, Rotisserie baseball was officially created by Dan Okrent on November 17, 1979. For the record, Okrent, a New York-based writer and editor, can't verify the exact date of creation. What he does know is this: From 1978-82 he flew regularly from Hartford, Conn., to Austin, Texas, as a publishing consultant for the Texas Monthly, and the idea came to him during one of those flights in the fall of '79.

Which is well and good, except it completely ignores the Superior Tile Summer Invitational Home Run Tourney.

The what??

The S.T. SIHRT, a Rotisserie style league that Bill Winkenbach and his cronies started playing some 20 years prior -- and which is still in full swing today.

Ed Winthers, a charter S.T. SIHRT owner, pins the inaugural season down to either 1959 or '60, and we found considerable anecdotal evidence supporting his claim. Nonetheless, the earliest documented evidence FSP was able to obtain came in the form of league correspondence from 1966.

Whatever the case, Wink and the boys clearly had a going baseball concern well before Okrent and his game were up and running.

So, does the S.T. SIHRT qualify as Rotisserie?

If, you believe the official website of Rotisserie League Baseball®, it certainly appears to. According to RBL: "The idea (behind Rotisserie) is to simulate owning and managing your very own baseball team comprised of actual players. You select your players from the rosters of teams in the American or National leagues and compete against other teams in your own unique league. The batting and pitching stats that your players generate in real life fuel the competition in your rotisserie league."

And as explained by Winthers, S.T. SIHRT owners "drafted" a fixed number of pitchers, catchers, infielders and outfielders with each player awarded points based on their actual performance.

Bottom line? Even if the S.T. SIHRT didn't meet the textbook definition of Rotisserie, it wasn't far off and it lends further credence to the notion Bill Winkenbach was the single most innovative force in the history of Fantasy sports. ?

catching serious grief in the wake of his career-low 939-yard, five-touchdown rushing effort in 2001.

The heat wasn't applied by teammates - or even Titans fans. The majority of complainants were Fantasy owners lamenting his less-thanexpected totals.

"I go into airports, and people say, 'Hey I had you on my fantasy football team.' I hear that from everybody," George said. "I'm like, 'Sorry.' I might go in the last round [of the fantasy draft] this year. ..."

And San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia, when introduced to 2002 World Championship of Fantasy Football grand prize winner Chris Schussman at this year's EA Sports Madden Bowl party held in San Diego the Thursday before this year's Super Bowl, admitted: "He probably didn't have me on his team."

Let's take stock, shall we?

With millions already playing, more jumping on board each year and with the most powerful sports league in the world blowing its considerable promotional winds into the metaphoric Fantasy sail, our hobby heads into the future with considerable momentum.

Now that we know where we stand, let's travel back in time to review some of the key individuals, places and circumstances surrounding the origin of our hobby. So, settle in, take a deep breath and get ready for a journey back more than 40 years to the dawn of Fantasy Football.

IN THE BEGINNING

Any history of the game has to answer one question first and foremost: Who was the individual most responsible for Fantasy Football as we know it today?

There's no controversy or mystery surrounding this one. The gentleman in question was the late Wilfred "Bill" Winkenbach, an Oakland-area businessman

The Utmost Sporting House in Norther
California(Site of the original Fantasy
Football draft - August 1963)
and a limited partner in the Oakland Raiders1.

As legend has it, Winkenbach came up with the idea for Fantasy Football after developing similar games involving other sports in the late 1950's.

The initial groundwork was laid on a rainy October night in a New York City hotel room2. It was 1962 and the Raiders were on the tail end of an annual 16-day East Coast road swing.

According to Winkenbach, "Bill Tunnell, who was the Raider P.R. man, and Scotty Stirling, who was then covering the Raiders for the Tribune, helped me set it up."

As the night progressed (and the cocktails flowed), the three men hammered out a basic blueprint specifying league organization and a set of rules calling for the selection of offensive skill players from pro football teams who would

"We had no idea it
would explode into
the kind of mania that
exists today. Pro
football isn't a game.
It's a cult. And
[Fantasy Football] is
close to a cult."

--Scotty Sterling on the current state of the game: --

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE

DEPARTMENT (Part I)

As outlined in the original 1963 GOPPPL

rules: "Lack of skill or study will also afford the heaviest loser the yearly trophy, symbolic of the loser's ineptness in this grueling contest. This award will be presented by the League Commissioner at the Annual GOPPPL Banquet, held in late January for club owners, coaches and wives."

As Sterling once recalled: "Winkenbach had this trophy made with a wooden football face and a dunce cap on top for the guy who came in last each year. The last-place guy had to keep it on his mantle till the next season, and when you visited his house he damn well better have that trophy up on the mantle or there was trouble5."

Fantasy Football
1)Winkenbach had a financial interest in the Raiders but no control or say in operational matters. According to relatives, his wife is still a limited partner in the franchise today.
2) The Manhattan Hotel is now the Milford Plaza, located at 700 8th Avenue in New York City.
3) From the post season GOPPPL dinner invitation sent to owners by Bill Winkenbach on January 30, 1967: "Inasmuch as George Glace is furnishing the victory drinks, he wants to know how much to order. So, R.S.V.P., dammit."
4) Yes, that would be the same Ron Wolf who recently retired as general manager of the Green Bay Packers after a long and distinguished career as an NFL front office whiz guy.
5) In a January 10, 1966 letter to GOPPPL Owners, Staff and Friends, Winkenbach noted: "Messrs. Tom Schalich and Tommy Moran will be at this time awarded the GOPPPL dunce trophy, making them the first record holders of the GOPPPL and S. T. SIHRT (see sidebar titled "Who Made Who?" on page 9) imultaneously."

The Original Fantasy Football Draft held at Bill Winkenbach's house in Oakland, CA August 1963

Also as outlined in the original rules: "The GOPPPL will have two officials -- a Commissioner and a Secretary. The Commissioner will preside at all meetings, handle all arbitration and appoint all committees. The Secretary will keep the league records and scoring data and be responsible for the collection and distribution of all monies at the end of the season. ..."

According to those involved, Winkenbach became Fantasy Football's first commissioner primarily because, as a small business owner, he already had the necessary equipment -- i.e. phone lines, typewriters and mimeograph machine.

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE

DEPARTMENT (Part II)

Asked by a reporter in 1965 why he was permitted to serve as both GOPPPL commissioner and team owner, Winkenbach replied: "It's easy... If I can't own a team, they can't hold the draft meeting at my home6."

Despite being relegated to the use of what even the most minimalist modern-day participant would consider antiquated gear, Winkenbach prepared and published weekly reports that were delivered to GOPPPL owners without fail on Tuesday mornings throughout the regular season.

DRAFT 1.0

During an interview earlier this year, Mousalimas described the overall mood at the first draft (see page 11), held in Winkenbach's basement on a beautiful night in late August of 1963, as "euphor- ic."

The original -- pre-merger -- "Rules of Drafting" were outlined thusly:

"Prior to the opening of the professional football season, at the evening dinner meeting7, club owners will draft 20 players from either league. However, no more than 8 imports can be drafted from the NFL. In the event of injury, which depletes a position, owner shall apply to Commissioner for approval to activate a temporary replacement from undrafted players."

As for the method of drafting, the rules state:

"At the first draft, cards will be cut for first choice, second choice, etc. The last choice or eighth choice will also get ninth choice going back up the ladder. Thus, the first choice will get sixteenth and seventeenth choice. After all cuts have been made, each owner will declare in what position he wants to draft. The following year, first choice goes

to the heaviest loser of the preceding year and so forth."

Each owner selected a roster comprised of four offensive ends, four halfbacks, two fullbacks, two quarterbacks, two kickoff or punt return men, two field goal kickers, two defensive backs or linebackers and two defensive linemen.

For the record, owners submitted a weekly starting lineup featuring two offensive ends, two halfbacks, a fullback and a quarterback.

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE

DEPARTMENT (Part III)

As outlined in the original 1963

GOPPPL rules: "Lineup has to be posted with League Secretary prior to 12:00 o'clock Friday morning. If no lineup is posted, the preceding week's lineup will be in effect."

Since multi-position players were so common in the early 60's, league rules stated that field goals and coversions could only be credited to the player specified. This meant the same player could be selected at

Andy Mousalimas with Tom Flores who was selected in the original FF Draft Left To Right: Bill Downing, Paul Shanberg, Andy Mousalimas

more than one position. For example Houston's George Blanda8 was drafted by two different teams in 1963, serving as quarterback on one roster and place-kicker on the other.

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE

DEPARTMENT (Part IV)

As outlined in the original 1963 GOPPPL

rules: "Inasmuch as this test of
skill and knowledge of the players
in the AFL and NFL leagues will be
backed by coin of the realm, it
behooves each club owner to study
carefully prior to draft, all
available statistics, schedules,
weather conditions, player habits
and other factors, so as to pre-
serve one's prestige and finances."
While greater levels of sophistication, increasing-
ly intricate scoring systems and more complex
rules place a premium on reliable fantasy-specif-

"About three years ago I ran into Bill and he told me, 'I told you we should have copyrighted the damn thing. ...."

-- Scotty Stirling (reportedly the last time he ever spoke with Bill Winkenbach).

Left To Right: Bill Downing, Paul Shanberg, Andy Mousalimas

ic intelligence, the GOPPPL was a low-tech fantasy league, where information was harder to come by than it is today.

"Our computer software package was a Street & Smith annual9, just to make sure a guy was still playing wide receiver somewhere," Ross said.

As any modern-day owner will tell you, that's probably not the most effective means of keeping up with the latest headlines.

This probably explains how one unfortunate owner wound up drafting tight end J.V. Cain

prior to the 1978 season -- a player whom Mousalimas (almost gleefully ) recalled, had passed away only a short time before.

6) The Winkenbach residence/Office Of The Commissioner on Oakdale Road in Oakland, was described on official GOPPPL letterhead as "The Utmost Sporting House In Northern California." 7) According to invitations sent out by Winkenbach, 1966 GOPPPLers had their choice of Prime Rib or New York steak -- at $6.00 per person, tax and gratuity included. Attendees at the 1967 Draft dinner could choose between a top sirloin steak, prime rib or lobster thermidor for a mere $11.00 per couple, including tax and tip. 8) Blanda was the first player selected in the inaugural GOPPPL draft. 9) In an August 23, 1966 letter sent to owners prior to that year's GOPPPL draft, Winkenbach wrote: "Street and Smith's Official Yearbook will again be the guide. It is now available."

THE KING(S X) LIVES

According to the principles, Fantasy Football took an immediate and compelling hold on those involved, especially those whose lives revolved around the three primary Oakland- area establishments involved in the early days -- the Raiders, the Tribune and the Kings X.

comprise their imaginary teams with said teams competing on a weekly basis in the quest of an overall champion.

"Though I was involved, Winkenbach deserves the lion's share of the credit for developing the game," Stirling, who currently serves as a scout for the Sacramento Kings, once said. "We chipped in with rules, but the germ of inspiration was these earlier games he played with golf and baseball (see sidebar titled "Who Made Who?" on page 9)."

WELCOME TO THE GOPPPL

Upon their return to Oakland, the three men let Ross in on the project.

"Right off the bat we came up with a pretty

good system," Ross said. That system was dubbed the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League -- or GOPPPL as those who played referred to it -- which officially made its debut in 1963.

The purpose of the league, as published in the original GOPPPL rules was: "To bring together some of Oakland's finest Saturday morning gridiron forecasters to pit their respective brains (and cash) against each other. Inasmuch as this league is formed only with owners having a deep interest and affection for the Oakland Raiders Professional Football Team, it is felt that this tournament will automatically increase closer coverage of daily happenings in professional football."

This original eight-team league included owner-coach combinations culled from friends at the Tribune and the Raiders, and other sports-minded acquaintances. Per league rules, participants had to meet at least one of three prerequisites in order to qualify:

1. Affiliation with an AFL professional football team in an administrative capacity.

2. A direct relationship to professional football in a journalistic capacity.

3. Either have purchased or have sold ten (10) season tickets for Oakland's 1963 season.

In addition to Winkenbach, Sterling, Tunnell and Ross, the original list of club owners included Raiders radio announcer Bob Blum and Raider ticket manager George Glace3, as well as season ticket sellers Phil Carmona and Ralph Casebolt.

Among the original coaches were Mousalimas, who teamed up with Stirling, and a surprisingly knowledgeable kid named Ron Wolf4, who was brought into the mix by Ross after Al Davis hired the one-time Colts' water boy to work in the Raider front office.

By the way, if you're wondering how intense the competition was back then, wonder no more. As Stirling once described it: "Competition was fierce. Friendships were destroyed. There were some divorces. But guys used to try like hell to get in."

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE

DEPARTMENT (Part I)

As outlined in the original 1963 GOPPPL

rules: "Lack of skill or study will also afford the heaviest loser the yearly trophy, symbolic of the loser's ineptness in this grueling contest. This award will be presented by the League Commissioner at the Annual GOPPPL Banquet, held in late January for club owners, coaches and wives."

As Sterling once recalled: "Winkenbach had this trophy made with a wooden football face and a dunce cap on top for the guy who came in last each year. The last-place guy had to keep it on his mantle till the next season, and when you visited his house he damn well better have that trophy up on the mantle or there was trouble5."

Fantasy Football

1)Winkenbach had a financial interest in the Raiders but no control or say in operational matters. According to relatives, his wife is still a limited partner in the franchise today. 2) The Manhattan Hotel is now the Milford Plaza, located at 700 8th Avenue in New York City. 3)From the post season GOPPPL dinner invitation sent to owners by Bill Winkenbach on January 30, 1967: "Inasmuch as George Glace is furnishingthe victory drinks, he wants to know how much to order. So, R.S.V.P., dammit." 4) Yes, that would be the same Ron Wolf who recently retired as general manager of the Green Bay Packers after a long and distinguished career as an NFL front office whiz guy. 5) In a January 10, 1966 letter to GOPPPL Owners, Staff and Friends, Winkenbach noted: "Messrs. Tom Schalich and Tommy Moran will be at this time awarded the GOPPPL dunce trophy, making them the first record holders of the GOPPPL and S. T. SIHRT (see sidebar titled "Who Made Who?" on page 9) imultaneously."

The Original Fantasy Football Draft held at Bill Winkenbach's house in Oakland, CA August 1963

Also as outlined in the original rules: "The GOPPPL will have two officials -- a Commissioner and a Secretary. The Commissioner will preside at all meetings, handle all arbitration and appoint all committees. The Secretary will keep the league records and scoring data and be responsible for the collection and distribution of all monies at the end of the season. ..."

According to those involved, Winkenbach became Fantasy Football's first commissioner primarily because, as a small business owner, he already had the necessary equipment -- i.e. phone lines, typewriters and mimeograph machine.

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE

DEPARTMENT (Part II)

Asked by a reporter in 1965 why he was permitted to serve as both GOPPPL commissioner and team owner, Winkenbach replied: "It's easy... If I can't own a team, they can't hold the draft meeting at my home6."

Despite being relegated to the use of what even the most minimalist modern-day participant would consider antiquated gear, Winkenbach prepared and published weekly reports that were delivered to GOPPPL owners without fail on Tuesday mornings throughout the regular season.

DRAFT 1.0

During an interview earlier this year, Mousalimas described the overall mood at the first draft (see page 11), held in Winkenbach's basement on a beautiful night in late August of 1963, as "euphor- ic."

The original -- pre-merger -- "Rules of Drafting" were outlined thusly:

"Prior to the opening of the professional football season, at the evening dinner meeting7, club owners will draft 20 players from either league. However, no more than 8 imports can be drafted from the NFL. In the event of injury, which depletes a position, owner shall apply to Commissioner for approval to activate a temporary replacement from undrafted players."

As for the method of drafting, the rules state:

"At the first draft, cards will be cut for first choice, second choice, etc. The last choice or eighth choice will also get ninth choice going back up the ladder. Thus, the first choice will get sixteenth and seventeenth choice. After all cuts have been made, each owner will declare in what position he wants to draft. The following year, first choice goes

to the heaviest loser of the preceding year and so forth."

Each owner selected a roster comprised of four offensive ends, four halfbacks, two fullbacks, two quarterbacks, two kickoff or punt return men, two field goal kickers, two defensive backs or linebackers and two defensive linemen.

For the record, owners submitted a weekly starting lineup featuring two offensive ends, two halfbacks, a fullback and a quarterback.

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE

DEPARTMENT (Part III)

As outlined in the original 1963

GOPPPL rules:

"Lineup has to be posted with League Secretary prior to 12:00 o'clock Friday morning. If no lineup is posted, the preceding week's lineup will be in effect."

Since multi-position players were so common in the early 60's, league rules stated that field goals and coversions could only be credited to the player specified. This meant the same player could be selected at

Andy Mousalimas with Tom Flores who was selected in the original FF Draft Left To Right: Bill Downing, Paul Shanberg, Andy Mousalimas

more than one position. For example Houston's George Blanda8 was drafted by two different teams in 1963, serving as quarterback on one roster and place-kicker on the other.

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE

DEPARTMENT (Part IV)

As outlined in the original 1963 GOPPPL

rules:

"Inasmuch as this test of
skill and knowledge of the players
in the AFL and NFL leagues will be
backed by coin of the realm, it
behooves each club owner to study
carefully prior to draft, all
available statistics, schedules,
weather conditions, player habits
and other factors, so as to pre-
serve one's prestige and finances."
While greater levels of sophistication, increasing-
ly intricate scoring systems and more complex
rules place a premium on reliable fantasy-specif-

"About three years ago I ran into Bill and he told me, 'I told you we should have copyrighted the damn thing. ...."

-- Scotty Stirling (reportedly the last time he ever spoke with Bill Winkenbach).

ic intelligence, the GOPPPL was a low-tech fantasy league, where information was harder to come by than it is today.

"Our computer software package was a Street & Smith annual9, just to make sure a guy was still playing wide receiver somewhere," Ross said.


Left To Right: Bill Downing, Paul Shanberg, Andy Mousalimas

As any modern-day owner will tell you, that's probably not the most effective means of keeping up with the latest headlines.

This probably explains how one unfortunate owner wound up drafting tight end J.V. Cain

prior to the 1978 season -- a player whom Mousalimas (almost gleefully) recalled, had passed away only a short time before.


Andy Mousalimas with Tom Flores who was selected in the original FF Draft
6) The Winkenbach residence/Office Of The Commissioner on Oakdale Road in Oakland, was described on official GOPPPL letterhead as "The Utmost Sporting House In Northern California. " 7) According to invitations sent out by Winkenbach, 1966 GOPPPLers had their choice of Prime Rib or New York steak -- at $6.00 per person, tax and gratuity included. Attendees at the 1967 Draft dinner could choose between a top sirloin steak, prime rib or lobster thermidor for a mere $11.00 per couple, including tax and tip. 8) Blanda was the first player selected in the inaugural GOPPPL draft. 9) In an August 23, 1966 letter sent to owners prior to that year's GOPPPL draft, Winkenbach wrote: "Street and Smith's Official Yearbook will again be the guide. It is now available."

THE KING(S X) LIVES

According to the principles, Fantasy Football took an immediate and compelling hold on those involved, especially those whose lives revolved around the three primary Oakland- area establishments involved in the early days -- the Raiders, the Tribune and the Kings X.

"[Winkenbach] would sit together with the other limited partners at home Raider games,

"No Kidding?!"

George Ross upon learning about last year's World Championship

of Fantasy Football and its $200,000 grand prize.

and for the first couple weeks of the season their big concern was not how the Raiders were doing, but how well their GOPPPL team was playing," Stirling said.

Ross recalled how more than a few of his fellow Tribune sports staffers put in extra hours at the office in order to get an edge over their GOPPPL competitors.

As previously published histories have noted, the concept of Fantasy Football began gaining wider appeal after people from around the region and across the nation, many of whom visited the Kings X for trivia contests10 and other friendly competitions, quickly took note of the bar's Fantasy Football leagues, spreading word of this fascinating new fixation far and wide11.

While a comprehensive discussion of the ensuing propagation of Fantasy Football is beyond the overall scope of this history, Stirling once told a reporter: "I think the thing first spread in the Bay Area. Once it got to Montgomery Street, which is to San Francisco what Wall Street is to New York. It spread like wildfire."

"It spread out in concentric waves," Ross said. "Guys in offices and in bars would talk about it, and pretty soon it was all over town, and then it spread to San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area."

But the Kings X was where Fantasy Football truly came into its own.

And Mousalimas, who sold the bar upon retirement in 1991, is the man responsible for introducing the hobby to patrons by establishing the first Kings X League12 back in 1969.

Mousalimas also played a vital role in the development of performance scoring.

In an article published on September 8, 1994, Oakland Tribune columnist and respected Fantasy expert Dave Del Grande

"I could care less about your fantasy league. ..."

-- Injured Denver Broncos QB Brian Griese during a September 27, 2000 press conference when asked if Fantasy owners could safely pencil him in as their starter against the Patriots that weekend.

wrote: "Mousalimas changed the scoring system to include yardage in the early '70s. That helps explain why Barry Sanders was drafted 10 spots ahead of Marcus Allen last week despite scoring 12 fewer touchdowns last season."

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE

DEPARTMENT (Part V)

According to Mousalimas, a motivating factor in

the initial push for performance scoring was Raider running back Pete Banaszak, who not only finished his 13-year NFL career with an impressive 50 rushing touchdowns, but who posted 31 of those TD runs during a four yearperiod in which he carried the ball 101 fewer times than Clarence Davis, who found the end zone a rather scant 14 times during that same span.

If that sounds familiar, it should.

After all, current Raider short-yardage specialist Zack Crockett has hit pay dirt on no fewer than 25 carries over the last four years. His 14 TD carries over the last two seasons compares favorably with the combined total of 15 rushing TDs posted by far busier teammates Charlie Garner and Tyrone Wheatley.

EPILOGUE: WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

A prominent figure in the East Bay Area during his life and financially successful in the tile business, Bill Winkenbach died March 7, 1993 at the age of 81.

Asked shortly before his passing if he was surprised at how popular the hobby he created had become, Winkenbach replied: "Oh, yeah. I'm surprised how big it's gotten."

The definitive word on Wink came from Stirling in 1994, when he told Fantasy Index magazine: "He was the ultimate sports fan."

While Winkenbach continued to play GOPPPL right up until his death, George Ross13 and Scotty Stirling moved on much sooner.

"It got to the point where I was forgetting to phone in lineups and losing games because of it," Ross said. "I was just too busy."

"I originally quit because I didn't have the time," Stirling said. "Then when I got out of football, I lost interest in the game. I still have some interest. It's just not nearly as great as it was. Basketball is by far the better game."

Ross, a lifelong newspaperman who served as sports editor of the Tribune for more than ten

Andy Mousalimas showing off his 2002 first place

performance in the Kings X division

Francesco's Restaurant past and present

headquarters of The GOPPPL Draft.

years, is currently enjoying retired life in northeastern California.

Stirling, whose career has run the gamut from sports journalism to sports management, has served as general manager of the Raiders, assistant general manager of the Oakland Oaks of the ABA, general manager of the San Francisco Warriors, vice president of operations for the NBA and then general manager of the New York Knicks.

Andy Mousalimas currently spends a fair portion of each day in front of his computer working on his Army memoirs.

In fact, Mousalimas has become a dyed-in-thewool computer junkie, something that became quite apparent when he told us early in May: "If I had a computer back then (during the early days of Fantasy Football), I might be doing a Fantasy magazine today. ..."

And the GOPPPL?

Well, the world's first Fantasy Football league heads into its 41st season of continuous play showing no signs whatsoever of slowing down. ?

10) In an article published on April 16, 1991, Oakland Montclarion correspondent Dawn Frasieur suggested the Kings X was the "Mecca for every trivia buff in Oakland and the East Bay," and noted: "Seven members of the Kings X teams have been chosen for the Trivia Hall of Fame in Boulder, which inducts only three to four individuals each year." 11) PGA golfer Tom Purtzer started a league in Phoenix after watching Ed Winthers prepare for a GOPPPL draft in the early 70s. 12) The Kings X is still a hotbed of Fantasy Football, featuring six divisions: The Kings Division (est. 1969); the X Division (est. 1970); the Taxi Division (est. 1971); the Other Division (est. 1971); the Rookie Division (est. 1973); and the Queens Division (est. 1973), a division started exclusively for the ladies. 13) Ross and Winkenbach didn't speak to each other for 15 years after the Tribune published a series of stories in the 1970's which questioned the propriety of some of the Raiders' financial dealings. The two failed to reconcile before Winkenbach's death.



Our latest Cheat Sheets updated constantly through September.



class="headline" onClick="expanddiv('tr1')" style="cursor:hand; cursor:pointer" onmouseover="window.status=' ';return true">Vikings HC Zimmer Having Emergency Eye Surgery; Status For TNF Unclear (11/30 9:15 PM PT)

class="headline" onClick="expanddiv('tr2')" style="cursor:hand; cursor:pointer" onmouseover="window.status=' ';return true">John Brown Still Dealing With Sickle-Cell Trait Issue (11/29 7:57 PM PT)

class="headline" onClick="expanddiv('tr3')" style="cursor:hand; cursor:pointer" onmouseover="window.status=' ';return true">Adrian Peterson Ran Sprints During Tuesday's Practice (11/29 12:25 PM PT)

class="headline" onClick="expanddiv('tr4')" style="cursor:hand; cursor:pointer" onmouseover="window.status=' ';return true">Jordan Matthews Dealing With An Ankle Sprain (11/29 10:45 AM PT)

class="headline" onClick="expanddiv('tr5')" style="cursor:hand; cursor:pointer" onmouseover="window.status=' ';return true">Robert Griffin III Has Been Cleared To Practice (11/29 9:32 AM PT)

class="headline" onClick="expanddiv('tr6')" style="cursor:hand; cursor:pointer" onmouseover="window.status=' ';return true">Aaron Rodgers Hurts Hamstring On MNF (11/29 8:35 AM PT)

class="headline" onClick="expanddiv('tr7')" style="cursor:hand; cursor:pointer" onmouseover="window.status=' ';return true">Jordan Matthews Injured His Ankle On MNF (11/28 5:26 PM PT)

class="headline" onClick="expanddiv('tr8')" style="cursor:hand; cursor:pointer" onmouseover="window.status=' ';return true">Patriots Waive D.J. Foster (11/28 5:21 PM PT)

class="headline" onClick="expanddiv('tr9')" style="cursor:hand; cursor:pointer" onmouseover="window.status=' ';return true">Nelson Agholor Will Not Play On Monday Night (11/28 5:18 PM PT)

class="headline" onClick="expanddiv('tr10')" style="cursor:hand; cursor:pointer" onmouseover="window.status=' ';return true">Cody Kessler Has Been Medically Cleared (11/28 5:14 PM PT)




 
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