For more great baseball stories like this one, 'like' us on Facebook -

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Morganna made name, Kissing Bandit, on field, uninvited

Morganna the kissing bandit 1990 Utica Blue Sox card

Having already been successful multiple times, burlesque dancer Morganna, the Kissing Bandit had already announced she would attend the 1970 All-Star Game and try again to run out and kiss a player

Ahead of the game, a reporter asked Commissioner Bowie Kuhn about Morganna, according to The Baltimore Evening Sun. Was she bad for baseball?

"Well I think you can overdo something like this," Kuhn responded, according to The Evening Sun. "I guess I'll have to decide something by next Tuesday."

Whatever Kuhn decided, when Morganna ran out onto the field, she didn't succeed in kissing anyone. But, for Morganna, that game marked one of the few times she missed her mark.

By 1989, she estimated she'd kissed 36 players, 23 of those in baseball. She'd also been arrested 16 times.

But she'd also gained a more formal role in baseball, as a minority shareholder in the Utica Blue Sox, a role she began in late 1985 and continued in 1990.

Before she was Morganna, the Kissing Bandit, she was Morganna Roberts, growing up in Louisville. 

After being disowned by her mother and raised by her grandmother, she told The Fort Worth Star-Telegram in February 1989, she got sent off to boarding school because her grandmother had to work  and ran away at age 13 to be a go-go dancer.

"I wasn't put in a boarding school because they wanted to give me the best," Morganna told The Star Telegram. "It's because no one wanted to give me the time of day."

In dancing, she was alternately described as burlesque and as a stripper. In November 1969, an Associated Press article noted her 44-inch bust. Then-22, she described herself as having started stripping at 13 in Baltimore.

"I'm a girl and I like it when people look at me," she told the AP in an article prompted by one on another big-busted dancer in Hawaii.

On the field, Morganna's antics started by 1969. She cites her first attempt came in Cincinnati with Pete Rose. 

Late that August, Morganna, not yet the "Kissing Bandit," set her sights on the Braves' Clete Boyer in Atlanta and got him, as well as got tossed. Boyer promptly got a hit to break his team from a scoring drought, according to The Chicago Tribune Press Service.

"I don't see why they didn't like what I did," Morganna, called a strip-tease dancer, told the press service. "Everyone could see the kiss encouraged Boyer. You saw what he did!"

(Morganna also prompted the news service in that article to remember that her name had two n's, something whoever set her 1990 Utica card forgot.)

But, by July 1970, she had her name, the Kissing Bandit. 

She then continued through the 1970s, kissing future hall of famers and others. In 1977, she ran out onto the field and kissed George Brett. Brett then returned the favor three weeks later, showing up at the theater where she was performing and gave her a kiss of his own, The AP wrote.

"It was just something to do in fun, that's all," Brett told The AP of the visit to Morganna, then the married Morganna Cotrell. "She's a super lady."

In December 1985, she joined up with minor league baseball and Utica.

As for her on-field running efforts, she continued until she retired in 2000

"It was fun, but there's a time and place for everything, I think,’" she told USA Today in 2019, noting she suffered multiple injuries over the years at the hands of security. "You know, sometimes the rent-a-cops get a little carried away. That’s just part of it. That and the jail is just part of it."

Morganna the kissing bandit 1990 Utica Blue Sox card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,637
Made the Majors:1,249-34.3%
Never Made Majors:2,388-65.7%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:520
10+ Seasons in the Minors:307

No comments:

Post a Comment