"THE GIRLS OF SUMMER"
SOPHIE KURYS PAGE 1 of 2

Sophie Kurys
Photo courtesy The Northern Indiana Historical Society.


SOPHIE KURYS

Born 1925
Left Field

Racine Belles, 1943-1950

In 1943, Sophie Kurys signed with the Racine Belles of the All-American Girls Baseball League. That first season, the eighteen-year-old, known as "The Flint Flash," was the team's left fielder and stole forty-four bases. The next season, she moved to second base, where she played in 116 games and stole a league-leading 166 bases (out of 172 tries). But she was just warming up.

In 1946, she was the league's Player of the Year, for a number of amazing feats. In 113 games, she had 112 hits, scored a league-leading 117 runs, and batted .286, the second-highest average in the league that year, with a phenomenal .973 fielding record at second base.

She also stole 201 bases (out of 203 tries). That's a record unequaled anywhere in professional baseball. Lou Brock held the men's record of 118 stolen bases in a season, until Rickey Henderson broke it in 1982, stealing 130 that year.

Sophie's feats didn't go unnoticed in the wider world of baseball. The 1947 yearbook, Major League Baseball Facts, Figures, and Official Rules, featured Stan Musial on its front cover, and Sophie Kurys on the back cover.

And she set that stealing record in a skirt. That's not an insignificant detail. The uniforms for the women who played in the AAGBL were skirts because the management wanted to show the world that these were extremely feminine women. No tomboys, was the official line. But that meant that when a runner like Kurys slid into second, she did it with bare legs.

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