In 1969, a young dancer named Morganna Roberts jumped onto the field at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium, ran up to Reds star Pete Rose, and kissed him. She was making good on a friend's "dirty double dare," she said later, but it started one of the more unusual forms of fame America has ever known. She kissed more than 50 professional athletes throughout the next 30 years, including Chipper Jones and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and she became something of a mascot in the major leagues, where she was widely known as the "Kissing Bandit."
Adam Kurland released Always Leave Them Wanting More (language and some visuals NSFW), a documentary short about Morganna's life, over on Roopstigo this month, and it's worth a watch—though it doesn't mention my favorite detail about her run. From a July 1988 Milwaukee Journal story [sic'd]:
She got into a lot of trouble after she ran onto the field at the Astrodome on April 9, 1985, and kissed Nolan Ryan and Dickie Thon of Houston. She was arrested on charges that could have gotten her a year in jail.
"We won the case on the gravity defense," she said. "I just leaned over the fence and gravity took its toll and took me into the arms of Nolan Ryan and Dickie Thon. Whose gonna argue with Isaac Newton?"
We now mostly regard fans on the field as either nuisances or threats or both, and they rarely get the camera's attention anymore. Morganna's run was unique. "The main reason I'm doing this is because it's fun," she said in an interview late in her career. "If it's not fun, don't do it."
She disappeared after 2000, and she hasn't agreed to an interview since. "I just got sick of talking about myself and always being the center of attention," she told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer after turning down an interview in 2001. (She also turned down Kurland's request to speak with a nice note on some spectacular customized stationary.) It's a shame, since she might get treated with more nuance in stories today than she did at the peak of her fame, when she was never speaking but "cooing" and when her measurements were treated like honoraries.
Morganna reportedly now lives in Columbus, Ohio, and her Wikipedia page has an entire section devoted to her "baseball career," which seems appropriately reverent.
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