Sophie M. Kurys Also Known as The Flint Flash


Flint’s very own, Sophie Mary Kurys – better known as The Flint Flash – made the city proud from 1943 to 1952 in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Born on May 14, 1925, the 5’5” 120-pound girl was 18 years old when she tried out for the Racine Belles. She was their pitcher, but was also fast; in 80 percent of the games, she stole at least one base, with an average of 150 steals per season between 1944 and 1950. Her career high was 201 bases in 1946, but she broke the World Record with a total of 1,114 stolen bases.

Before she hit the Big Leagues, Kurys attended All-Saints Catholic High School, Emerson Junior High, and Flint Northern High School, although she left school in eleventh grade. At 14, Kurys won the Mott Decathlon by earning 4,693 out of a possible 5,000 points.

Photo provided by the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library

Photo provided by the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library

During the Great Depression, she worked part-time for the National Youth Administration. In April of 1943, scouts came from Chicago to Flint to find players for the All-American Baseball League. Kurys heard of the tryouts and wearing a skirt and sweater, went to Berston Field House to show off her skills. In May of 1943, she signed a contract to play for $50 a week.

The All-American League started in 1943 with 108 games on the schedule, running from June 1-August 29. Kurys began with a fantastic season. In 106 games, she tied for sixth best in the league, had 104 hits, scored 60 runs and batted in 59 runners. In their first season, the Racine Belles placed fourth.

During the offseason, Kurys returned to Flint and worked at AC Sparkplug. The next year, Kurys suffered a knee injury from her “too ambitious sliding.” Before her injury, she still set a League record by playing 248 straight games – which started in the 1943 season.

Later, in 1945, Kurys rebounded from her injury and collected 69 walks, stole 115 bases, and had 73 runs, leading the Belles to a 50-60 record.

By 1946, she was voted Player of the Year, having contributed her talents for four successful seasons. Kurys made the AAGPBL All-Star team from 1946-1949. The Racine Belles had a 65-47 record in 1947, finishing third out of eight teams; 76-49 in 1948; 45-65 in 1949; and 50-60 in 1950.

In 1972, Kurys retired to Arizona, and was inducted into the Greater Flint Area Sports Hall of Fame in 1986. She died in February of 2013.


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