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Morganna "The Kissing Bandit"

Icons | July 9, 2021

Source: (Pinterest).

Morganna Roberts love of baseball started when her grandfather took her to see a game in Louisville, her birthplace, and she was so connected to the sport that she even met her future husband, Bill Cottrell at a World Series game when she was only 22. She had a rather inauspicious start, as she was disowned as a baby and raised by her grandmother for six years. She was sent to Mount Mercy Catholic Boarding School, where she stayed until 13, when she ran away to Baltimore. Too young to work, she lived on the street. However, when she saw an ad in the window of the Flamingo Club advertising for a "Cigarette Girl or Camera Girl. Must be 18,” she applied, telling the owner she was 18. He decided to hire her as an exotic dancer, which she agreed to, having no idea what the term meant. During her first performance, the audience shouted, “Take it off,” and she began to cry so the manager had to lead her off the stage. However, she got used to it and by 17, was a successful exotic dancer. She combined stripping and comedy, and she wore two 10-gallon cowboy hats on her chest. She also impersonated Gene Shalit, the film critic. 

Source: (Listal).

A Well-Endowed Exotic Dancer With A Sense Of Humor

She was described by Hank Davis as having “ample physical development. Simply put, the woman makes Dolly Parton look developmentally delayed.” She has explained that her chest began to develop when she was nine and she could pass for 18 by the time she was 12. She has insisted "I'm not a sex symbol. I'm a comedienne. I make folks smile. I make them laugh - and that makes my day. What are we here for, if not that?" And she has turned her “stage props” as she calls them, into fodder for humor. As she has said, "People ask me where I get my bras and I always tell them the same people who make my bras made the domes for all the stadiums." 

Source: (Red Reporter).

Pete Rose Was Her First

In August, 1969, after a dare from a friend, she rushed onto the field at Crosley Field, Cincinnati and kissed Pete Rose. Rose reacted with some questionable language, but the next night he found her and apologized with a bunch of roses. The incident earned her the nickname “the Kissing Bandit” when a Cincinnati sportswriter wrote the story with the headline: Bandit steals kiss from Pete Rose.” More kisses followed, and by 1990, she had kissed 37 Major League Baseball players, 12 National Basketball Association players, and dozens of minor league baseball, basketball, and hockey players. She had also kissed managers, umpires, and owners, as well as the San Diego Chicken.

Source: (famouschicken.com).

The Dangers Of Kissing

Just as the sports themselves have hazards, so too did Morganna’s pastime, as she has been injured jumping from the stands, arrested and charged with trespassing around 20 times, hit by a pitch, and jailed briefly. Sometimes, she was injured by security as well. She also stood trial in Houston, where her lawyer argued that “this woman with a 112-pound (51 kg) body and 15-pound (6.8 kg) chest leaned over the rail to see a foul ball. Gravity took its toll, she fell out on the field, and the rest is history." She was featured in her own set of baseball cards, and was the part-owner of the Utica Blue Sox, a minor league club. Carolina Fine Snacks released a special product named after her, the “Morganna Kissing Bandit peanuts.” She appeared at the Baseball Hall of Fame in a picture of her trying to kiss Frank Howard, and she was invited to kiss minor league players at their games and CNN featured her bungee jumping from a crane onto the field as the “play of the day.” The kissing bandit has been profitable for the teams, often doubling attendance. Over the course of her kissing career, she has earned millions of dollars.  

Source: (cincinnati.com)

When She Was Not Kissing

She continued to work as an entertainer, earning as much as $10,000 per week as an exotic dancer in Houston, Las Vegas, and Oklahoma City. She has appeared on late night talk shows and appeared as herself in the movie Kingpin, and she retired from leaping onto the field to kiss baseball players in 2000. 

Tags: exotic dancing | Morganna Roberts

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Linda Speckhals

Writer

When she’s not out walking her dog, or taking in a baseball game, Linda loves learning about history, science, and philosophy. She will travel wherever the wind may blow, and happily loses herself in a book, whenever she can. At heart, she is a music loving tree-hugger.