The Racine Belles are known for being one of the first original teams a part of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). If you are from Racine, chances are that this piece of history is rich in your heart.
Movies, memorabilia, and nostalgia from the days of the original Racine Belles bring us back to good times when these women were playing ball and had their skirts in the dirt. “There’s no crying in baseball” is a line from A League of Their Own, a movie that tells a fictionalized account of the real-life AAGPBL. Today, only happy tears are allowed. On National Bobblehead Day, special bobbleheads have been released and are sure to spark the waterworks.
The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled an officially licensed, limited-edition bobblehead of Sophie Kurys, a former Racine Belle. In addition, the Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled a vintage South Bend Blue Sox Bobblehead similar to the 1960s classic bobblehead style.
This is a special day for baseball fans, Racine enthusiast, and Racine Belles lovers. Now, you can have a piece of history and display it wherever you see fit.
Co-Founder and CEO of National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, Phil Sklar, says that this is so monumental because, “the women of the AAGPBL paved the way for women in sports and beyond and bobbleheads do a great job of honoring special people.”
Additionally, Sklar says, “the bobbleheads are also a tool to educate and inspire people about the AAGPBL and the women who played in the league, and we’re glad to be playing a part in that. Before the series in 2018, fewer than half of the AAGPBL teams had ever had a bobblehead, and now we’re already on the third series.”
This is the first-ever bobblehead for Kurys. Specifically, it’s only one of 13 available in the AAGPBL All-Star series featuring the league’s top players. Of course, Kury is sporting the famous Racine Gold and Brown uniform. Kurys bobblehead is her making a throw from her second base position. This look really commemorates who she was as a player.
Kurys, a native of Flint, Michigan, was a founding member of the AAGPBL. It was organized in 1943. She played for the Racine Belles from 1943 to 1951. The team relocated to Battle Creek, Michigan, in 1952. At first, Kurys did not make the transition to the new team. Her love for the game was strong, so she joined the squad at a later date. This stud of a player never played second base before joining the league but undoubtedly became the best.
Racine gets to call this superstar their very own. However, she was nicknamed “Tina Cobb” or the “Flint Flash” because of her unbelievable records. Kurys was the greatest base stealer in AAGPBL history. She finished playing with 1,114 stolen bases in her career, including a career-high 201 (in 203 attempts) in 1946 – a single-season professional record that still stands. Kurys’ career total was surpassed only by Rickey Henderson in 1994.
When playing for Battle Creek, she had to retire midseason due to an injury. Even so, this athlete was untouchable. Since Kurys has been named the AAGPBL Player of the Year of 1946, she was a four-time All-Star and a member of championship teams in 1943 and 1946.
Her accompaniments as a female athlete do not go unnoticed. Additionally, Kurys holds the all-time AAGPBL record for runs scored (688) and single-season runs (117). She also ranks third in hits (859) and walks (522). If you know baseball, you know these statistics speak for themselves.
Having a bobblehead made of Kurys isn’t the only honor she’s received. She was also inducted into the National Women’s Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013. That same year, this former Racine athlete died. She was 87 years old and residing in Scottsdale, Arizona. Of course, an iconic place in the baseball industry.
“We are thrilled to add to our growing AAGPBL bobblehead collection by honoring 13 of the league’s star players,” National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum co-founder and CEO Phil Sklar said. “Sophie Kurys was one of the most exciting players in the history of the AAGPBL and she, along with all of the other women of the AAGPBL, paved the way for women in professional sports and beyond” says Sklar.
Bobbleheads for sale
Bobbleheads of former players from other AAGPBL teams are available, including the Fort Wayne Daisies, Grand Rapids Chicks, Kenosha Comets, Muskegon Lassies, Rockford Peaches, and South Bend Blue Sox.
The vintage bobblehead is part of a series featuring all 15 AAGPBL teams and are the first bobbleheads in the vintage style to celebrate the league. The bobbleheads are produced by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum and officially licensed by the AAGPBL.
Each bobblehead is individually numbered to 500. Click here to purchase your bobblehead. They are only available through the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum’s Online Store. The bobbleheads, which just arrived and ship now, are $30 each for the All-Star Bobbleheads and $25 for the vintage bobblehead plus a flat-rate shipping charge of $8 per order. A complete set of all 13 All-Stars is $375, while the set of 15 vintage bobbleheads is $300.
About the AAGPBL:
Today, the AAGPBL Players Association is an active, nonprofit organization that promotes its members’ social activities and opportunities. Its purpose is to research, collect, document, and preserve the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League’s history and disseminate educational information regarding the League and its personnel’s history. More information about the AAGPBL can be found at AAGPBL.org.