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History of the Clark Griffith League

Founded in 1945, the Clark C. Griffith Collegiate Baseball League was originally known as the National Capital City Junior League. In its early years, games were played in Washington, D.C., before large crowds of baseball fans on the Ellipse behind the White House.

Clark C. Griffith, owner of the Washington Senators, lent considerable support to amateur baseball in the Washington area and, in particular, to our League. In recognition of that support, the League was renamed the Clark C. Griffith Memorial Baseball League following his death in 1955.

In 1966, the League moved its home base to Northern Virginia. With the support of the Home Plate Club, access to playing fields was secured. From 1972-86, League games were played on the George Mason University (now Paul VI High School) baseball field on Route 50 in Fairfax. In 1987, the League moved to the South Lakes High School baseball field in Reston, but each current team plays on a field in its own local community.

The League further upgraded its program in 1993 as wood bats became required for use in competition. In addition, professional and college stadiums were rented for many games, and the League emphasized recruiting the very highest level of baseball talent available. The League also renamed itself the Clark C. Griffith Collegiate Baseball League.

The League is a charter affiliate of the All American Amateur Baseball Association (AAABA), founded in 1945 by the late Glenn L. Martin, and the League champion has competed in the AAABA National Tournament in Johnstown, Pa., each year. League representatives have won 10 AAABA titles, including five of the last six. Those national champions include Marx Jewelers (1947), Federal Storage (1956, 1960 and 1962), Reston Raiders (1986), Prince William Gators (1997) and Arlington Senators (1998-99, 2001-02). The League’s 10 AAABA titles places it third all-time as it trails only Baltimore (20) and New Orleans (12).

From 1986-95, the League also sent a representative to compete in a national postseason tournament sponsored by the National Amateur Baseball Federation (NABF), with the Prince William Grays (1986) and Arlington Senators (1995) both winning NABF College Division championships. A league representative returned recently to the NABF tournament as the Bethesda Big Train placed third in 1999 and second in 2000.

In what may be a unique accomplishment for any amateur league, the two teams representing the League in 1986 both won national titles: Reston in the AAABA and Prince William in the NABF.

Joe Branzell, a scout with the Washington Senators and Texas Rangers organizations for more than 30 years, played a large role in the success the League has enjoyed. Branzell, who passed away in August 1997, led the Washington Boys Club and Federal Storage teams to League championships from 1951-62, and he guided Federal Storage to three AAABA titles. Branzell’s name will be associated with the League’s All-Star Game for eternity.

Thousands of young men who have played in the League have had successful baseball careers, both in college and beyond. Following is a list of young men who have competed in the League and then gone on to play professional baseball.

CGL Champs

Year
Team
Manager
1945
Rosedale
Unknown
1946
Mt. Pleasant
Early
1947
Marx Jewelers**
Munro
1948
Marx Jewelers
Munro
1949
Marx Jewelers
Branzell
1950
Washington Boys Club
Prohaska
1951
Washington Boys Club
Branzell
1952
Washington Boys Club
Branzell
1953
Washington Boys Club
Branzell
1954
Washington Boys Club
Branzell
1955
Federal Storage
Branzell
1956
Federal Storage**
Branzell
1957
Federal Storage
Branzell
1958
Federal Storage
Branzell
1959
Federal Storage
Branzell
1960
Federal Storage**
Branzell
1961
Federal Storage
Branzell
1962
Federal Storage**
Branzell
1963
Village House
Tuthill
1964
Rotary Club
Sirkis
1965
Martz Insurance
Martz
1966
Martz Insurance
Martz
1967
Martz Insurance
Martz
1968
Martz Insurance
Martz
1969
Martz Insurance
Martz
1970
Martz Insurance
Martz
1971
Martz Insurance
Martz
1972
Martz Insurance
Martz
1973
Stroube's Mobil
Coughlan
1974
Stroube's Mobil
Coughlan
1975
Stroube's Mobil
Coughlan
1976
Stroube's Mobil
Coughlan
1977
Stroube's Mobil
Coughlan
1978
Stroube's Mobil
Coughlan
1979
Mac's
Coughlan
1980
Rangers
Marcopolous
1981
Rangers
Marcopolous
1982
Rangers
Jacobs
1983
Reston Raiders
Faris
1984
Reston Raiders
Faris
1985
Reston Raiders
Faris
1986
Reston Raiders**
Faris
1987
Reston Raiders
Faris
1988
Reston Raiders
Faris
1989
Reston Raiders
Faris
1990
Reston Raiders
Faris
1991
Did not play
1992
Vienna Mavericks
Faris
1993
Vienna Mavericks
Faris
1994
Vienna Mavericks
Faris
1995
Maryland Bombers
Bovello
1996
Arlington Senators
Picollo
1997
Prince William Gators**
Covington
1998
Arlington Senators**
Burr
1999
Arlington Senators**
Burr
2000
Arlington Senators
Burr
2001
Arlington Senators**
Burr
2002
Arlington Senators**
Waggoner
2003
Arlington Senators Burr
2004
Bethesda Big Train Hacopian
2005
Herndon Braves Miller
2006
Vienna Senators Burr
     
     
     
     
     
  ** Won AAABA National Championship