Lately there has been a burst of creativity, in which a number of unusual progressive leagues have popped up - I mention only a few:
chargingryno's "1969 Rookie" league in which all players from 1968-9 rosters appear but in their rookie seasons for the inaugural draft after which the league moves from its 1969 season to the 1970 season and draft class.
tigerpaw23's "1990 AAA randomizer" league - in which you are assigned random average AAA from 1990 and after that inaugural season can keep 15 and move on to the next seasons' random assigned players
funkybbfreak's "Post-strike Contraction 1995" league in which only 16 teams remain after the 1994 strike
my own "Geography Progressive League" using the regions of birth of every player in baseball history.
There are many others and I don't mean to slight anyone whose cool idea for a progressive I haven't mentioned..
Some ideas fare better than others: two of my recent attempts - the 1886 single season "8-hour league" to have consisted of 12 teams replaying the whole WIS history of baseball never got past 3 owners signing up and the apparently too complicated "Star Trek clone league" in which two 12 team leagues would each draft from the same single season separately each having one version of the same player except for superstars never got out of impulse power.
But the trend is unmistakable: we are looking for real progressives that however have elements of surprise, innovation and novelty.
So here are a few ideas that I would like to see happen, whether I am able to start them myself in the near future or someone else decides to do some variation thereof:
1. An "Unlucky Numbers Draft League" - this would be a two-season league, for example starting in 1885 and 1940 or 1885 and 2013 (with the latter half being regressive) - but we would use two unlucky numbers: 13 (considered unlucky in the US) and 17(considered unlucky in Italy -
(digression about the unlucky number 17 and Italian culture:) don't ask me why, I stopped asking questions here when they told me I should not keep plants in my room because at night as part of photosynthesis they give off carbon dioxide. I mentioned that there are people still alive in the Amazon rain forest, and they told me that is because it is open in the forest, so I told them I would sleep with my window open...) end digression-
There would be 13 rounds in which the players from the two leagues with full time PA numbers (say 550 PA or more) and IP (say 180 plus) would be available, after which there would be 17 rounds of only part-time bench players, with each team drafting up to a roster of 30. After the first season, there would be a set number of rounds in which the best players were available from the two seasons for that year's rookie class after which again only part-timers. This would require good team and bench-building skills.
2. The Mirror League: I still think that idea behind the Star Trek league, without the whole baroque Star Trek baggage has merit:
A single season prog in which each player can appear in each league once - 16 team league or 20 or 24 depending on the era. The main issue to determine is whether inter-league trading can take place or not, and whether a particular league using this idea wants interleague play before the World Series. It could be interesting as it allows a single season march through baseball history while allowing for more than enough players say for a 24 team league in a 16 team era, without having to resort to a dual-season compromise.
3. A No-Stars Progressive - literally you start at whatever epoch you want and you just take out any of the superstars and see who would have been the greatest players ever without a Ruth, Cobb, Johnson, Williams, Mays, Mantle, Aaron etc. There are many theme leagues that work on this principle but no progressives that I know of.
4. A four or six owner league - here the idea would be a small group of friends who want more than the skimming the surface of reliving an era by having only a few players. It could be dual season, say four owners EACH running their own four or six team division, with each division drafting from only either the NL or AL from one of the two seasons. Trades would or at least might be allowed but you would draft only from your league season. Example: 16 teams, four divisions, using 1901 and 1947 to start - Owner A drafts 1901 NL, B 1947 AL, C 1901 NL and D 1947 AL. This could be done with any number of teams or divisions.
5. Meet me in the Middle: start in 1885 and 2014, working forward with one and backward in time from the other to arrive at 1940 (if I have calculated correctly).
6. Pitchers' and Batters' League: Start batters in one season and pitchers in another and draft only batters from the subsequent chronological years from their starting point and same with the pitchers. The main issue is how and whether to deal with first the huge IP 1880s pitchers (though in a way this might be an opportunity to use them in an interesting way) and the whole deadball era pitcher thing (though again, perhaps this finds a way to make that a refreshing thing). So here pitchers could start in 1940 and batters in 1885, or vice-versa, or one could start in 1885 working forward and the other in 2014 working backward. Or any other combination: Example: So the first year we draft 1901 pitchers and 1941 batters. Next season pitchers from 1902 and batters from 1942.
6.B. Same idea but instead of pitchers and batters it could be infield and outfield from different eras and starting and relief pitchers.
7. Decades Progressive: Have 16 teams, each one in the AL and in the NL start from a different decade. So in the AL team A is 1891, B 1901, C1911, D..H, 1961 or whatever, again, draftees coming from the subsequent seasons in that decade, and if after ten years you want to continue you just keep going, each team moving on to the next decade and if a team hits the current season in RL it goes back to 1885 or 1901 or whatever, a mirror cycle in the NL as well, or a different starting point in time. This allows all of baseball history but still a progressive history. The downside is that these tend to easily become mega-all star teams, but if you like those it could be fun.
8. The Jubilee Year league: in the ancient Middle East most societies had a Jubilee every 7 years - they freed slaves, cancelled debts and restored land to the original owners (I am thinking of running for president on this program in 2016) - in this league every seven seasons the teams would be dissolved and the current players re-drafted.
9. The Socialist Share the Wealth League - with apologies to my libertarian friends on this site - rather than worry about draft position (which could even thus be randomly assigned) the two best players on each division winner would be re-assigned to the last and next-to-last team after each season. This would keep all owners on their toes and possibly develop new and interesting drafting strategies.
10. The Tanking League - with even more apologies - oh, who am I kidding? - the idea is to just let tanking happen and use it to make something interesting. Any team that wins their division with more than 90 games won is disqualified, and the team with the highest record up to but not greater than 90 wins reaches the playoffs instead. Any team finishing last with more than 40 wins loses a spot in the otherwise worst-to-best W-L record draft order.
11. The Realistic Free Agents League - here, EVERY player that makes the All-Star team becomes a Free Agent and re-enters the draft pool for the next season. This would reflect the "rental" nature of today's stars and create rosters and lineups accordingly.
12. The Trading League - every team loses a spot in the draft order for every player on their roster on Opening Day that they fail to trade during the season.
13. Franchises Draft League - Pick a starting season and hold an inaugural draft. So the players start out from a particular era, say 1901 or 1947. Then, instead of drafting from a season each season, one franchise is chosen at random and ALL players that played for that franchise in their initial WIS seasons and that are not already in the league are the draft pool for that year - starting out in their rookie seasons.
Anyway, there are more things that would be fun to do, but this is a good start. The Jubilee League, the Realistic Free Agents League, the Trading League, the Socialist Share the Wealth League and the idea of a Mirror League are ones I would be most likely to start or join in the short or medium run.
Anyone else have any ideas?