The Final Kiss-off Why did baseball's buxom Kissing Bandit retire her act four years ago? Hard to say, because now she's revealing nothing - Sports Illustrated Vault |
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The Final Kiss-off Why did baseball's buxom Kissing Bandit retire her act four years ago? Hard to say, because now she's revealing nothing

Her bust should have its own bust in Cooperstown. Morganna the
Kissing Bandit had measurements like a first-place hockey record,
60-24-39, and so she required a custom-built brassiere with, as
God is our witness, an I cup. Arrested in Houston in 1985 after
running onto the field and kissing Astros pitcher Nolan Ryan and
shortstop Dickie Thon, she successfully used a "gravity defense,"
claiming in court that physics caused her to fall over an
Astrodome fence and onto the playing surface. "Who's gonna
argue," she asked, "with Isaac Newton?"

Of course, her profile was less Newtonian than Partonian. (And
Morganna was fond of telling anyone who'd listen--including
Johnny Carson--that Dolly was modestly embosomed by comparison.)
She first trespassed on the scene in 1971, at Riverfront Stadium
in Cincinnati, where she gamboled across the field on a friend's
"dirty double dare," she said, and kissed Pete Rose. (In later
years Morganna liked to say that her career began with a bet, and
his ended with one.)

During the quarter century that ensued, fans frequently saw MTKB
bounding from a box seat onto one diamond or another, beneath a
Vesuvius of blonde hair, to give a chaste kiss to a litany of
All-Stars that included Johnny Bench, George Brett (twice), Steve
Garvey and Cal Ripken Jr. She was intercepted by security before
she could smooch Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg in the first
night game at Wrigley Field, in 1988, and spent some time in the
Unfriendly Confines of a Chicago jail. But the truth is, no jail
could hold her--this may have literally been so--and she never
suffered serious legal trouble.

Morganna (the Kissing Bandit) Roberts grew up in Louisville but
was immortalized as neither the Louisville Hugger nor the
Louisville Lip. (That was taken.) She got her nickname from a
Cincinnati sportswriter, but in fact there was no banditry about
her, for few athletes resisted her heavily lipsticked advances.
When she branched out briefly into basketball, planting one on
Charles Barkley in 1989, he found himself staring deeply into her
I's. "[He] kept talking to my cleavage while I kissed him," she

All of which turned MTKB into a C-list celebrity who autographed
glossy photographs of herself with the phrase BREAST WISHES. And
so Morganna is the only individual in this Where Are They Now
issue of whom we might reasonably ask: Where Are They Now?

The erstwhile exotic dancer, who has split with accountant Bill
Cottrell, her husband of more than 25 years, is reportedly 49
(though other sources list her at 55), and lives a quiet
Midwestern life, putting a much-needed buss in Columbus, Ohio.
Beyond that, she's gone Garbo. We haven't seen her kisser since
1999, nor has she done an interview since the turn of the
millennium. She has repeatedly declined interview requests from
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and, reportedly, from Playboy, for whom she
once divested herself of her Brobdingnagian brassiere. But two
years ago she did leave a 4 a.m. message on the voice mail of
Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter Dan Raley, with whom she also
declined to do an interview. Her message, in part: "I just got
sick of talking about myself and always being the center of
attention." She added, with a depressingly Presleyan finality,
"Morganna has left the building." Pity, because we need
Morganna--more than ever in these troubled times--to enter the
building and to frolic on its field of play.

Baseball has no shortage of diamond-crashers; liquored-up yahoos
at Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field come to mind. A few wannabes
will even give an illicit peck to Derek Jeter, but Morganna
really was pecked--by the San Diego Chicken. And so, while we may
one day see a more bosomy busser (a temptress in a T cup,
perhaps), we shall never again see another Morganna, who remains,
like Ted Williams, the Greatest There Ever Was. Morganna, we
hardly knew ye.

Why, at the top of her game, did she kiss it all goodbye? Was she
puckered out, tuckered out, felled by mononucleosis? Sadly, we
may never know. Baseball's most famous lips are--and may forever

B/W PHOTO: CORBIS/BETTMANN (TOP) LIP SERVICE Players (such as Ryan in '85) and fans alike embraced Morganna (espied outside her home earlier this month).

COLOR PHOTO: THOMAS E. WITTE [See caption above]