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Back Story: The night "The Kissing Bandit" came to town

Morganna planted a kiss on Ripken's cheek during game at Memorial Stadium in 1988

By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

3:03 PM EST, December 27, 2012

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Mark Harvey, the Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium streaker, didn't get the same deal that Morganna Roberts, a stripper and exotic dancer who was known as "The Kissing Bandit," did in 1988, when she ran onto the field at Memorial Stadium and bussed Cal Ripken Jr. as he came up to bat.

Harvey, 26, a Severn truck driver dressed in a Batman cape and underwear, took to the field at Camden Yards on Opening Day in April. In September, once again dressed in his Batman outfit, he jumping onto the field during the second quarter of the Ravens's game against the New England Patriots.

After the second incident, the Baltimore state's attorney's office filed trespassing charges against him for both instances.

This month, Harvey pleaded guilty to the two charges. He was sentenced to 180 days, with all but four days suspended — and he had already served two of those days after he was arrested, The Baltimore Sun reported. He also received 18 months' probation and was fined $400. He will be required to perform 80 hours of community service and is banned from the two stadiums for life.

Morganna got her start when at 13, she ran away from a Catholic boarding school near Louisville, Ky. After hitching a ride to Baltimore, she went to work as a stripper at the Flamingo Club on The Block.

And with her measurements of 45-20-36, it was easy for her to pass herself off as an 18-year-old. After three years, she left The Block and took her act on the road.

In 1970, when dared by friends, she ran onto the field at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium and kissed Reds player Pete Rose.

By the time she tagged Ripken in 1988, she had compiled a record of kissing 21 major-league baseball players, including Fred Lynn, Steve Garvey, Nolan Ryan, Steve Yeager, George Brett and Don Mattingly.

Since her days on The Block, Morganna's measurements grew with her fame to 60-23-39, reported The Evening Sun at the time of the Ripken smooch.

When she took to the field in 1985 and kissed Houston Astros pitcher Nolan Ryan, the team dropped charges only after the legendary Texas lawyer Richard "Racehorse" Haynes said he would argue that his client fell over the rail pursuing a foul ball.

"Gravity took its toll, she fell on the field, and the rest is history," he explained.

During "Fantastic Fan Night" on May 2, 1988, before 50,402 fans at Memorial Stadium, Morganna, dressed in pink hot pants and a tight-fitting T-shirt, dashed onto the field and placed a firm kiss on the cheek of Ripken.

City police arrested Morganna and released her after she spent eight hours in jail. She was charged with trespassing.

Before the 1988 incident, the Columbus, Ohio, resident had been arrested 14 times for her on-field escapades, but this was the first time she had to go to court. She returned to Eastside District Court in Baltimore to face the music.

Prosecutors said they would not press charges if Morganna agreed to stay away from Memorial Stadium for a year. While she accepted the deal, she told The Evening Sun at the time that she did not promise to stay off the field.

Judge Charlotte Cooksey explained that if she broke the agreement, the charges would be resurrected and the $100 fine imposed.

"So, I'll kiss the whole team next time, it will be worth it," she told The Evening Sun, explaining that all she wanted to do was bring luck to the Orioles team, which at the time was 1-23.

"After all, it was Fantastic Fan Night, am I right?" she said. "Well, I am a Fantastic Fan."

Morganna also expanded her repertoire to include such basketball players as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Charles Barkley. She even kissed the San Diego Chicken mascot, and told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2001, "He's no chicken. He's a rooster, believe me."

For the past decade, Morganna has been "retired" and lives quietly with her accountant husband, Bill Cottrell, near Columbus, Ohio.

"I had a great time," she told the Seattle newspaper. "All the fans were wonderful. All the players were wonderful. The road was wonderful. But I had just had enough."

By the way, the night Morganna decided to kiss Ripken, she did bring the team luck. The Orioles beat the Texas Rangers, 9-4.