WHIP is a very important fantasy baseball statistic.
In fact, I coach youth baseball and I have found that, at least in youth baseball, the WHIP statistic is more important than ERA. That’s because steals and errors are much more commonplace.
But, WHIP hasn’t always been a statistic that baseball afficionados followed. In fact, it’s been around for only 30 years. Hard to imagine that when its published today in every Yahoo box score and even on the backs of Topps trading cards.
The WHIP statistic was actually invented in 1979 by Dan Okrent, manager of the Okrent Fenokees and better known as the father of Rotisserie Baseball, according to a story from the Wall Street Journal (yes, we do read more than just Playboy). Okrent actually trademarked the term Rotisserie Baseball, but all that did was spawned a new term by which most of us know the game today–fantasy baseball.
Originally, Okrent didn’t call it WHIP. Okrent named it IPRAT, or “innings pitched ratio.” Okrent admits today that WHIP is a better sounding moniker.
Oh well, Okrent invented the game in 1979 when he was flying on a lot of airplanes while working at Texas Monthly magazine. At the time, 10 people played his Rotisserie Baseball and now 10 million play it. Okrent never made any money off of it except for some book sales.
He owns the copyright to the worthless “Rotisserie Baseball.” Okrent never bothered to copyright the term “IPRAT.”
Good thing, it’s obsolete too.