I’ve been working on this great big baseball theme puzzle with my son the last few days. It’s kind of a montage of little pictures of the greatest moments in the game. When taken collectively, they add up to make the fabric of baseball history – Willie Mays’ over the shoulder catch, Don Larsen’s perfect game, Bill Mazeroski’s famous homer, etc. Just all kinds of little images of turning points in baseball history. Well, up in the left hand corner is this drawing of George Brett with this big s— eating grin, being hugged by this overly buxom lady during the 1979 All-Star game. Man, that brought back memories for me. I had to explain what this lady with 1970’s hot shorts was doing on George Brett and why this image was on his puzzle. Do you remember Morganna “The Kissing Bandit”?
I did a little research and found an article from 2001 by a reporter named Dan Raley for the Seattle Post Intelligencer. Here’s some of the facts I learned about her. A Kentucky native, Morganna was 17 when she attended a 1971 Cincinnati Reds game and a friend dared her to run out on the field at Riverfront Stadium and give Pete Rose a kiss. Rose swore at her for the intrusion, then called her and apologized the next day.
It was the first of nearly two dozen big-league baseball kisses and one of hundreds involving entertainers and other athletes for Morganna, who realized the value of publicity. A Cincinnati sportswriter dubbed her the Kissing Bandit. It was a life of crime she could handle.
Either invited or uninvited, Morganna tried to plant a kiss on someone in each ballpark nationwide. Among her victims were Cal Ripken, Johnny Bench, Steve Garvey, Don Mattingly and Nolan Ryan. Brett got kissed twice. Her Mariners choice for a wet one was former catcher Steve Yeager.
At the ‘79 All-Star game, Morganna waited seven batters before bounding onto the Kingdome field in the first inning and sprinting for Brett. He got a hug and a kiss.
Her kissing vocation was not all laughs and giggles. She was arrested and charged with trespassing nearly 20 times, often spending 12 to 14 hours in jail and paying a $100 fine.
Yet things could get humorous at times. In court once, she had colorful Texas attorney Richard “Racehorse” Haynes argue the “Gravity Defense” on her behalf, that she had leaned over a rail and been naturally propelled onto the playing field because of her anatomy.
All these years, Morganna bared just about everything except one well-hidden fact. She’s been married to an accountant, Bill Cottrell, for 30 years.
He gets all of the kisses now.