For the past two offseasons, I have posted, using a somewhat complicated and arbitrary rubric, the “most successful franchise” since 2001. It’s made more complicated by the fact that only seven of the 11 Valley League franchises have existed since 2001.
Well, we have a new leader!
But let’s start with the parameters so no one attacks my credibility from the jump. (Dig deep, here; take an ibuprofen if your head starts to hurt.)
Seven Valley League teams have been in the league since 2001: Covington, Front Royal, Harrisonburg, New Market, Staunton, Winchester, and Waynesboro. Woodstock joined in 2004, Strasburg in 2011, Charles Town/Purcellville in 2013, and Charlottesville in 2015. Several other teams were active in this time span: Luray, Haymarket/Aldie, Fauquier, Loudoun, and Rockbridge.
The idea is this: I decided to assign points (called “Franchise Points”) for various achievements. The rubric looks like this:
- 1 point for a season finished at .500 or better
- 1 point for 30+ regular season wins (a bonus for a truly outstanding year)
- 1 point for winning the regular season division title (or in the case of 2014, 2010, 2007, and 2006, winning the regular season pennant, since there were no divisions those years)
- 1 point for losing in the first round of the playoffs (or you could call this a point for qualifying for the playoffs)
- 2 points for losing in the semifinals
- 3 points for losing in the finals
- 5 points for winning the title (what we play for, obviously)
Does that sound ridiculous? Yeah, I know, it is. But it’s fun!
Let’s begin with some winning percentages. I have separated the charts between the original seven and the others.
|The Original Seven||W||L||Pct|
If you’re curious, the order shown above has not changed since I started doing this weirdness.
This list changed quite a bit in 2019. Purcellville/Charles Town dropped from second place down to fourth, with Luray and Strasburg each moving up one slot. Woodstock’s winning percentage increased from .397 all the way to .409, but they remained in seventh place.
Now, by assigning the rubric, here are the “best” franchises:
- The order of this list has not changed in the past year.
- Winchester: 6 division titles, won 3 championships (2001, 2003, 2004)
- Waynesboro: 6 division titles, also 3 championships (2007, 2013, 2014)
- Covington: 4 division titles, won two championships (2005, 2011)
- Harrisonburg: 4 division titles, 1 championship (2012)
- New Market: 1 division title (2006), and two championships (2002, 2018)
- Staunton: 3 division titles, 0 championships; the Braves made the finals in 2004, 2006, and 2015, but have not won a championship since 1999
- Front Royal: 2 division titles (2009, 2015), 0 championships, one finals (2010); Cardinals won their only championship in 1986
Now the partials.
- There were two changes to this list: Charlottesville passed Strasburg, and Purcellville/Charles Town dropped below Aldie/Haymarket.
- Strasburg: 2 division titles, 2 championships (2015, 2016).
- Charlottesville: 1 division title, 2 championships (2017, 2019)
- Purcellville/Charles Town: 2 division titles, 0 championships
- Luray: 3 division titles, 3 championships (2006, 2008, 2010)
- Aldie/Haymarket: 1 division title, 1 championship (2009)
- Rockbridge: 0 division titles, 0 championships- Rapids made the finals in 2011
- Woodstock: 1 division title (2013): The River Bandits have not advanced to the finals yet as a franchise, but they got oh-so-close in 2019
- Fauquier: in their 3 years of existence, the Gators did not win a division title or championship. They lost in the first round of the playoffs in 2008
- Loudoun: the Rangers finished last in their only season
Now we have to put them all together:
There we have it! The most successful franchise, wresting the title from Strasburg, is the Charlottesville Tom Sox! The next four are Strasburg, Winchester, Luray, and Waynesboro. You can see the movement in the chart under “change.” Purcellville took the biggest tumble, while Charlottesville took the biggest jump (for the second year in a row).
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed our fun little exercise, Brilliant Reader- tune in one year from now for the next update….