With roots dating back to 1897, the Valley Baseball League is a true unique experience here in the Shenandoah Valley. The founding of the league back in 1897 had 5 Charter Members of Winchester, Woodstock, Strasburg, Front Royal, and Edinburg. Since then, the league has expanded to 11 teams and has added Towns/ Cities as of 2018 of Harrisonburg, Purcellville, Covington, New Market, Charlottesville, and Staunton which virtually encapsulates the entire Shenandoah Valley now.
What makes the VBL unique is that it once served as a Class D minor league affiliate to pivoting to an NCAA sanctioned league in 1961. The Valley Baseball League is 1 of only 13 such sanctioned leagues that college players can play in over the summer which adds to the credibility of the organization. What this all means is that college players can play on these teams in the summer months and continue to hone their craft to eventually try out for the MLB!
The format of the league has also become more modern as it now mirrors the MLB in the 2 divisions like the MLB’s National and American leagues. The schedule for each team is comprised of 42 games that begin in June and run through August. And then concludes with a top 8 playoff to determine their champion who receives the Lineweaver Cup. What is also unique to the Valley Baseball League is the wooden bat rule that was adopted in 1993. The intent was to make the game more like the professional level. Even today, the NCAA allows the use of metal/ composite bats. With the VBL’s adoption of this rule to me, gives the league more credibility.
According to the VBL website, they have produced “well over 1,100 professional baseball players.” This is a very large statistic when you look at how global of a game baseball is. Also according to their statistics on players, in 2015, 30 Valley League alumni were playing in the Major Leagues. 15 alumni were also either playing or serving in a executive capacity in 2014 with one of the MLB Post Season teams. Basically if you can attend some of these games in support of your local team, you just might see one of these players on the TV screen one day!
Some notables that are on active Major League rosters include Daniel Murphy of the Washington Nationals (Luray 2004-05). And Brett Gardner of the New York Yankees (New Market 2003-04).
I have been to a couple of games personally and enjoyed them thoroughly. Granted I used to play and love the game. And I’ve even played in my younger years of Frederick County Baseball in the Bing Crosby Stadium.The home of the Front Royal Cardinals. These games are special and the ones I have been to, the host venues try to give you a professional baseball atmosphere. I highly suggest you try to make it out to a game this year and support one of your local Valley Teams!
I’ll put a link below to the VBL, and make sure to check out the different teams schedule and rosters. You’ll be surprised by some of the big name colleges that have players right here in the Blue Ridge Mountains!
Valley Baseball League
June 1st is opening day and here is the 5 game lineup.
Stasburg Express @ Winchester Royals
Front Royal Cardinals @ Purcellville Cannons
Waynesboro Generals @ Covington Lumberjacks
Charlotesville TomSox @Staunton Braves
Woodstock River Bandits @ New Market Rebels
Here’s some other fun ideas from our blog to explore in the region