Sophie Mary Kurys
(Tina Cobb, The Flint Flash)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 5", Weight 115 lb.
- High School Flint Northern High School
Sophie Kurys, nicknamed "Tina Cobb" or "The Flint Flash", was an outstanding player for the Racine Belles of the AAGPBL. Kurys played nine seasons in the All-American league from 1943 to 1950 and 1952.
In her career, Kurys set a world record 1114 stolen bases, more than Ty Cobb, and later more than both Lou Brock and Japanese steals king Yutaka Fukumoto. Kurys' total was not passed until Rickey Henderson did it in 1994.
Kurys also stole 201 bases, on 203 attempts, in 1946 (bases were 72' apart). Kurys is the league's all-time record holder for runs in a game (5), season (117) and career (688). She was not only fearless on the bases, but she tied for the league lead in home runs in 1950, set the league's walk record in 1946 (93), finished second in batting in 1946 and holds the league fielding records at second base for a season (.973) and career (.957). She was a four-time All-Star though the league only selected All-Star teams in 5 of her seasons as a regular. In 1946, she won Player of the Year when she hit .286/.434/.352 - in addition to setting records in runs, steals, second-base fielding percentage and walks, she led the league in OBP, was tied for 2nd in average, 4th in slugging and tied for 4th in homers. She capped the season by being the top hitter in the playoffs and stole 5 bases in the 14-inning title-winning Game 6 against Rockford - in the bottom of the 14th Kurys singled, stole second, then hustled home on a short single by Betty Trezza.
Kurys was a well-rounded athlete. At the age of 14 she scored 4,693 points out of 5000 in the Mott Pentathlon, a record. That year she also was MVP of the Michigan State Basketball Tournament at Lansing, MI. In addition, she was an excellent shortstop/third baseman in softball. She did not even play second base until joining the AAGPBL in its first season in 1943, yet she immediately became the best in the game at the position.
Sources include the 1947 edition of Major League Baseball Facts, Figures and Official Rules and "The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Record Book" by W.C. Madden
- Gary Belleville: "September 16, 1946: Racine Belles win 14-inning thriller, claim second AAGPBL championship," SABR Baseball Games Project.
- Jim Sargent: "Sophie Kurys," SABR Baseball Biography Project